§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of both Houses of the American Congress having authorised the President to conclude a Treaty of Arbitration 684 with any other Power, it is intended by Her Majesty's Government to enter into communication with the American Government, with a view to the negotiation of such a Treaty between Great Britain and the United States?
THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. J. W. LOWTHER, Cumberland, Penrith)
On the 2nd August, 1883, the right hon. Member for Midlothian was invited by the hon. Member for the Bordesley Division to reply to a question almost identically the same as that of the hon. Member for Northampton. On that occasion the right hon. Gentleman is reported to have replied, "We are not prepared to do anything of the sort." Her Majesty's Government, although holding the same opinion as that which was held by the Government of the right hon. Member for Midlothian, do not desire to give quite such an abrupt statement of their views. Her Majesty's Government have shown that they are not averse to referring to arbitration several matters of dispute which have arisen between themselves and foreign Governments; but there are questions, such as those involving the title of the British Crown to territory or other Sovereign rights, which Her Majesty's Government could not pledge themselves beforehand in all cases to refer to arbitration.