§ MR. PROVAND (Glasgow, Blackfriars)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if any official statement has been made by the Russian Government as to the terms on which British vessels may trade with the port of Talienwan; if it is now or will at any fixed future date be subject to the navigation laws of Russia, and if these prevent British ships from trading between Talienwan and any other Russian port; and, is the Customs tariff the same as that of the Treaty Ports in China or that of Russia?
The assurances given by the Russian Government with regard to Talienwan have already been published in China No. 1, 1898. We understand that a formal declaration will have to be made to the representatives of the Treaty Powers in China when the port is considered to be open to foreign commerce, which will not be until a Customs service has been 39 established similar to that which exists at other ports opened by treaty. Her Majesty's Government were informed some time ago that steps were being taken for the organisation of a general administration and Customs establishment at Talienwan, and that duties would be collected by Russian officials for the Chinese Government according to the Chinese tariff. We are not in a position to express any opinion as to the bearing of the Russian navigation laws upon the position of the port.