§ SIR EDWARD GOURLEY (Sunderland)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, if he can inform the House whether British vessels (flying the British flag) are, under existing Russian regulations, permitted to carry cargoes of grain or other lawful merchandise from Black Sea Russian ports to Ta-lien-wan; and whether the carrying trade from Russian ports will be limited to ships flying the Russian flag when the Trans-Siberian railway is ready for traffic or open to ships of all nations?
THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. ST. JOHN BRODRICK, Surrey, Guildford)
By referring to page 134 of the Blue-Book China No. 1, 1899, the honourable Member will see that the Russian Chargé d'Affaires at Pekin 176 informed Her Majesty's Minister on 23rd June, 1898, that Ta-lien-wan could not be considered a "port effectivement ouvert" until the establishment of a Customs service similar to that existing at other ports opened by Treaty, and that a declaration to that effect would have to be made to the Representatives of the Treaty Powers. Her Majesty's Government are awaiting such a communication from the Russian Government. No regulation has as yet been issued by the Russian Government confining the carrying trade between Russian ports and Ta-lien-wan to Russian ships.