§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with regard to the concession made in November, 1899, by the Porte to a German syndicate represented by the Deutsche Bank for the construction of a railway from Konia to the Persian Gulf, to expire in 1906, whether he has any official information to the effect that since the concession was made the German syndicate has asked that a kilo-metrical guarantee should be given to them by the Porte, and that the Porte has proposed to raise the present tariff on imports with a view to providing the sum required; and if he has any information that an English syndicate 709 offered in 1899 to construct the line to the Persian Gulf without a kilometrical or other guarantee.
I beg also to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he has any information relating to the convention between the Porte and the Russian Government, of April, 1900, under which the Porte has agreed to grant no concession for the construction of railways in the north-eastern parts of Asia Minor except to Russian companies, and will he state whether any Papers will be presented to Parliament on this subject and the other railways communication in Asia Minor.
§ EARL PERCY (Kensington, S.)
May I ask whether the noble Lord can say what line the railway mentioned in the first question proposes to follow; and in regard to the second question whether the Russian Government has any intention of constructing the railways themselves, and whether the Turkish Government are forbidden not only to grant concessions for these railways to foreign companies, but to make them themselves with foreign financial assistance.
§ *VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
I cannot answer these latter questions without notice. It is believed that a preliminary agreement was made between the Porte and a German syndicate for such a concession as is described in December, 1899, but no information has been received that the concession has been definitely granted or its details settled. It is understood that a kilometric guarantee was contemplated as one of the conditions of the concession, but it is not known that any progress has been made towards settling the point. The Porte has proposed to raise the present tariff on imports, but no intimation has been given that this measure was intended for the purpose of providing the sum required for the guarantee. The Public Debt Commission would have a first claim upon any increased revenue so obtained. His Majesty's Government are not aware of an offer having been made by an English syndicate to construct the line in question without a guarantee. Whatever agree- 710 ment has been made between the Porte and the Russian Government is of a confidential nature; and His Majesty's Government have no information which could properly be made public.