HC Deb 21 February 1895 vol 30 cc1263-4
MR. H. LABOUCHERE (Northampton, E.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether instructions were sent during the Parliamentary Recess to Her Majesty's Ambassadors accredited to the Great European Powers, to suggest to the respective Governments to which they were accredited a joint mediation in the dispute between China and Japan; whether China had asked for this mediation; and, if so, whether any steps were taken before the above instructions were sent to Her Majesty's Ambassadors to learn whether Japan would agree to it; whether replies were sent to Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by Her Majesty's Ambassadors after the suggestion had been made to the Governments to which they were respectively accredited; and whether all Papers connected with this suggested mediation will be laid upon the Table of the House?


In consequence of authoritative information, received by Her Majesty's Government at one time during the Recess, steps were taken to sound the other Governments of Europe and of the United States, to ascertain if in their opinion there was any possibility of bringing about a peace between China and Japan upon certain terms. Replies were received and were generally favourable. Later on Papers will no doubt be laid, which will include communications between the various Powers interested, but they cannot be published without previous reference to the other Powers, nor at the present stage of affairs between China and Japan.


Do I understand that they will not be published until the war is over?


I should like to hope for an early termination of the war, and to answer that question in the affirmative; but, as I cannot foresee what the course of the war may be, I am afraid I cannot give my hon. Friend an answer.