HC Deb 10 July 1900 vol 85 cc1108-9
*SIR J. COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can state the date of the last despatch received from Sir Claude MacDonald; whether our Foreign Office has any knowledge of despatches of a later date, sent from foreign Legations at Peking, having been received; if so, can he state the date of the latest despatch from any of the Legations at that place; and, whether any despatch known to the Foreign Office gives any information as to the steps taken, and preparations made, for the defence of the Legations and protection of foreign residents in Peking; and, if so, whether he has any objection to indicate generally the nature of such arrangements so reported.


The las telegram addressed by Sir C. MacDonald to the Foreign Office was dated 12th June, three days after Admiral Seymour had landed his force. In it Sir Claude urged immediate measures, which had been already taken. I believe no telegram of later date was received from any other Lega- tion. Despatches up to 28th May from Sir C. MacDonald were received yesterday. In one of these he describes an interview held on 27th May with Prince Ching, at which the latter stated that as Commander of the Peking Field Force he was willing personally to undertake the protection of all foreigners. It was, however, decided to send for the Legation Guards, but no assault on the Legations appeared at that moment to be contemplated.