HC Deb 02 February 1900 vol 78 cc443-4

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was the draft of the Declaration of Paris submitted to Her Majesty the Queen, and the signature whereof was approved by Her Majesty, by a document dated the 8th April, 1856, identical in all respects with the Declaration itself as actually signed eight days later on the 16th April by Lords Clarendon and Cowley; if not, what alterations or additions were made in it between the 8th and 16th April, and were these alterations submitted to and approved by Her Majesty before the final signature; was Her Majesty's approval ever signified of the signature by Lords Clarendon and Cowley of the further agreement proposed at the Congress by Count Walewski on 16th April to the effect that the Powers which had signed the Declaration of Paris could not enter in future into any arrangement which does not rest at the same time on all the four principle's, the objects of the said Declaration; and of the further agreement on the same day that the present resolution, since it cannot have a retroactive effect, cannot invalidate anterior conventions; if so, in what form, and by what document, and on what date was Her Majesty's approval signified; and whether he has any objection to lay upon the Table of the House the despatches to Lord Clarendon of 13th April, 1856, and of 18th April, 1856, relative to the Declaration of Paris; and if there be any objection, what that objection is. I beg further to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what was the form and character of the document whereby Her Majesty the Queen signified her approval to Lord Palmerston, on 8th April, 1856, of the draft of the Declaration of Paris; was the document a letter, a rescript, or a memorandum; was it authenticated by the Sign Manual; and, if not, how; and what objection, if any, is there to laying this document upon the Table of the House.


It is altogether unusual and would be inconvenient to make public such details as are made the subject of inquiry by the hon. Member. The draft of the Declaration submitted to the Queen was substantially, and in its material points, identical with that eventually adopted, but it would not be in accordance with constitutional usage to lay communications between the Sovereign and her constitutional advisers on the Table of the House.