§ MR. STEVENSON (Suffolk, Eye)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Secretary of State has received, since August, 1896, through Her Majesty's Ambassador 631 at Constantinople, 16 petitions from British merchants at Constantinople praying that their claims for the actual pecuniary losses sustained by them during the massacres in that city in 1896 may be considered by Her Majesty's Government; what steps have been taken by the British Ambassador during the 22 months which have passed since those disturbances to secure payment from the Porte of the claims in question; and what are the reasons urged by the Porte for ignoring the claims, rights, and interests of the British commercial community in Constantinople?
The various claims on account of losses incurred by British merchants in the Constantinople massacres of 1896, having been investigated and revised by a competent commission, were presented to the Porte in April, 1897. A supplementary list of claims was also sent in at a later date. No answer having been received, the representatives of foreign Powers at Constantinople were consulted as to their willingness to take joint action in the matter; and after some discussion an identic note pressing for payment was agreed upon by Her Majesty's Embassy, and the Embassies of France and Italy, and was sent to the Porte. In consequence of the pressure exerted by the three embassies the matter has again been referred to the Council of State.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
Can the right honourable Gentleman say what is the total amount of the claims made by the Powers?
I do not remember. Perhaps the honourable Gentleman will give notice if he wishes for the information.