HC Deb 21 April 1890 vol 343 cc976-7
MR. STANLEY LEIGHTON (Shropshire, Oswestry)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can state if any steps have been taken by the Government to protect British interests at Delagoa Bay, especially with regard to the interests involved in the railway; whether he can give the House any further information in reference to the reported invasion of the Shire Country, and whether any aetual invasion occurred; whether he can state the amount of loans made by the British Government to Portugal; and if the British Government have ever renounced their claim to repayment?


(1.) Her Majesty's Government are making representations to the Portuguese Government, concurrently with that of the United States, respecting the British interests concerned in the Delagoa Bay Railway. We are not aware that there are other British interests there requiring protection at present. (2.) No further information has been received to that which I have already communicated to the House, viz., that the Portuguese Government know of no intended expedition into the Shiré Country, but have instructed the Governor General of Mozambique by telegraph to send immediate orders to their officers to retire below the Ruo if they have advanced above it, and they assure us that no action of the Colonial Authorities will be sanctioned or tolerated that is inconsistent with the understanding between the two Governments. (3.) A loan of £600,000 was made by this country to Portugal in 1809; but by the Treaty of 22nd January, 1815; whereby Portugal agreed to abolish the Slave Trade, the Convention of that loan was annulled and further payments declared to be remitted. By an examination of accounts in the same year it was shown that a balance of £2,489,240 was due by Portugal on account of arms and other supplies furnished by this country during the war between 1808 and 1814. This has not been repaid or formally remitted. The reason for not claiming it doubtless was that the war was waged rather on behalf of Europe than of Portugal.