HC Deb 13 May 1901 vol 93 cc1457-8

I beg to ask the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs if he is at liberty to state the true position of affairs with regard to the British and foreign post offices at Constantinople, and whether, in the event of them having to be closed, an assurance will be obtained from the Turkish Government for the safe delivery to British residents of their letters and newspapers.


The ambassadors at Constantinople have protested against the recent seizure by the Turkish authorities of the mails addressed to the foreign post offices, and we have ascertained that as regards the incoming mail these proceedings will not be repeated. As regards the outgoing mail, in consequence of the refusal of the Porte to convey them, the foreign mail-bags are at present conveyed to the frontier in charge of an officer of one of the Embassies, who have arranged to undertake the duty in turn. His Majesty's Government have on several occasions stated their readiness to consider proposals for the withdrawal of the British post offices, so soon as the Turkish postal system is established on a footing to offer the necessary security for punctual and safe transmission of correspondence, provided always that such withdrawal should be conditional on similar action by other Powers. But the methods recently adopted by the Turkish authorities render it impossible for them under present circumstances to entertain any such proposals.