HC Deb 24 May 1898 vol 58 cc531-2
MR. PROVAND (Glasgow, Blackfriars)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the port of Wei-hai-Wei has been or is to be leased from the Government for military purposes alone, as stated in this House by the First Lord of the Treasury, or on the same terms as Russia has leased Port Arthur and Talienwan, as stated by the Marquess of Salisbury in No. 150 of the recently issued Chinese Correspondence; whether our Government has received any later assurances from Russia that Port Arthur and Talienwan would be open to Foreign trade like other Chinese ports, as stated in No. 120 of the Chinese Correspondence; and whether the dispatch from our Government spontaneously intimating to the German Government that we would not call in question their rights or interests in the province of Shantung, or lay down railway communication from Wei-hai-Wei to the interior, and the reply of the German Government thereto, are documents of such a confidential character that they are not to be laid before the House, or, if they are to be laid before the House, when this will be done?


Both statements are correct, and there does not appear to be any contradiction between them. The latest Russian assurances as regards Port Arthur and Talienwan are contained in inclosure 2 to No. 151, on page 64 of the Chinese Correspondence. The declaration made by Her Majesty's Government with regard to Wei-hai-Wei was published at Berlin, and has been reproduced in the press. The reply of the German Government was merely an acknowledgment of the same.