§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the attention of the Foreign Office has been called to the Abyssinian Decree of June, 1897, which states that, by reason of the services which Count Nicholas Léontieff has rendered out of friendship to the Abyssinian Government, he is nominated Governor General of the Ethiopian countries known as the Equatorial Provinces, with the mission of introducing into them, the Imperial authority of Abyssinia; whether inquiry has been made as to the districts intended by the phrase, "the Ethiopian countries known as the Equatorial Provinces"; and whether there is any reason to suppose that any portion of these provinces thus handed over to a Russian subject, with a view to the introduction of the authority of the Emperor Menelik, is situate within the British sphere of influence attached to the British East Africa Protectorate?
I have seen what purports to be a copy of the Decree in question. There is no mention in it of the limits or extent of the Equatorial Provinces therein referred to; nor in the absence of a British representative at the Court of the Emperor Menelik has it hitherto been possible to make inquiries on the subject. Lieutenant Harrington, who has been accredited by Her Majesty in this capacity, is now on his way to Abyssinia; and his Reports may supply us with information on all these subjects.