§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can state by whom, and at what date, the Russian concession at Tientsin was granted; whether it is a concession to the Russian Government itself; and whether its area includes a portion of the railway line which is mortgaged to British subjects as security for the Chinese Imperial railway loan.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Viscount CRANBORNE,) Rochester
On the 31st of December Li Hung Chang signed an agreement granting to the, Russian Government as a concession a considerable tract of land of which the Russian military authorities had previously announced themselves possessed by right of conquest. His Majesty's Government are not aware under what authority Li Hung Chang signed the agreement. In answer to the third paragraph, it appears that the concession includes property in the occupation of the Chinese Railway Administration, but at present it is not possible to be more precise. I may add that we have declared that the vaidity of the concession and of proprietary rights within it must be reserved for future examination. Count Lamsdorff made a proposal to the same effect to Sir C. Scott on the 20th instant.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
I think that the answer just given may be taken to be an accurate statement so far as we are aware.