MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, previously to making the agreement with Russia, as to the western portion of the Behring Sea (embodied in Lord Rosebery's Despatch of 3rd May, and Mr. Chichkine's reply thereto of 22nd May, 1893), which provides that British subjects shall be forbidden to exercise their right peaceably to navigate and to fish the high seas, and shall be made liable to search and capture 329 by Russian cruisers, Her Majesty's Government have obtained any reparation for or any sufficient explanation of the seizure by Russian cruisers, in July last, of six British vessels on the high seas, and the captivity and inhuman treatment of their crews?
§ * SIR E. GREY
This matter has been referred by the Russian Government to a Special Commission, and it is understood that they have now made their Report, and that a communication will shortly be received from the Russian Government on the subject. The present Provisional Agreement with Russia was made expressly without prejudice to the rights of vessels, which were seized last year by Russian cruisers, and I must also point out that the present agreement is bi-lateral and not uni-lateral as the hon. Member seems to suppose.
In reply to a further question by Mr. Gibson Bowles,
§ * SIR E. GREY
The answer of the Russian Government has not yet been received; it was therefore distinctly stated that nothing in the Agreement was to prejudice the rights of British vessels seized last year.