§ MR. JOHN MORLEY (Montrose Burghs)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 513 whether the statement in the telegram of 12th March 1896, as it appears in the Papers recently laid before the Italian Parliament, from the Italian Ambassador in London to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Rome, is correct, namely, that ''Lord Salisbury, after a meeting of the Cabinet, telegraphed to Lord Cromer to take steps for executing a Military demonstration towards Dongola, with a view to making a diversion in our favour;" whether, in taking this decision, Her Majesty's Government acted on the advice of Lord Cromer; and, whether any communication took place with the other European Powers in regard to such a military demonstration, before or after the decision of the Government?
Lord Cromer was informed by telegraph on March 12th that Her Majesty's Government had decided to authorise an advance of Egyptian troops in the Valley of the Nile, for the security of the Egyptian frontiers, and also as a diversion in favour of Kassala. As I have twice previously stated, in reply to similar questions, Her Majesty's Government had, before this decision was arrived at, been in communication with Lord Cromer and the military authorities in Egypt, who had expressed the opinion that a forward movement against the Dervishes should be made, in view of the position of Kassala. No previous consultation took place with the European Powers. But they were informed afterwards that Her Majesty's Government had authorised the advance of Egyptian troops; and the objects of the expedition were explained to them.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I may, perhaps, ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there is any serious objection to producing the communication made to Lord Cromer on March 12th?
No doubt the Secretary of State will consider the propriety of including that and other papers in any collection of documents that may subsequently be laid before the House.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
Will the collection of papers also include the commmunication made to the Foreign Powers to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred?
That, again, is a matter which, of course, I must submit to the judgment of the Secretary of State.
§ MR. LEONARD COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
The right hon. Gentleman, in his principal answer, has repeated again the ambiguous word "who." ["Hear, hear!"] I would ask him if the word "who" in this answer refers to Lord Cromer as well as to the military authorities?
I apologise if my grammar is unacceptable to the House, but, as on previous occasions, so now, the word "who" refers to both parties.