HC Deb 22 March 1900 vol 81 cc40-1

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs have Her Majesty's Government received any information relative to the demand made of the Government of Turkey by the Russian Government of an exclusive concession of the railway line from Kara Ourghan to Erzeroum, and the further demand of the concession of a railway from Samsoun to Siwas; have they any information to the effect that M. Zinoview, the Russian Ambassador at Constantinople, has informed the Turkish Government that Russia forbids Turkey to grant to any other-person or government than Russia any railway concession whatever in the north of Anatolia; did the British Ambassador at Constantinople have an audience of His Majesty the Sultan on the 2nd March, and were the Russian demands then made the subject of communications; and can he say what attitude Her Majesty's Government proposes to adopt with regard to these demands.

EARL PERCY (Kensington, S.)

I beg at the same time to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether the Russian Government has applied to the Porte for a concession confering upon them the right of vetoing the construction of railways in the northern provinces of Asiatic Turkey; and, if so, whether, in view of the fact that the exercise of any such right must seriously impede or render impossible the amelioration of the condition of the population of these provinces, Her Majesty's Government have made any, or intend to make, any representations to the Turkish or Russian Governments on the subject.


Her Majesty's Government are unable to give information to the House respecting the negotiations between Turkey and Russia, which are understood to be of a confidential nature, nor would it be convenient to make any declaration of policy with regard to them. Sir N. O'Conor had an audience of the Sultan on the date mentioned. It is contrary to usage to make public the subjects treated on such occasions, but no reference was made to Russian claims or demands.