§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can state what is the present position of the Newchwang Railway and the Tientsin Siding Disputes; whether, as regards the latter, a large proportion of the land now included in the Russian Concession was, before the grant of the Concession, already the 712 property of various British firms, among them Jardine, Matheson and Co., William Forbes and Co., and John Swire and Sons; what is the date of the latest communications which have passed between His Majesty's Government and the Russian Government in reference to the position at Newchwang; whether Papers concerning these matters can be laid before Parliament previously to the passing of the Foreign Office Vote.
*THE UNDER SECRETA RY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Lord GRANBORNE, Rochester)
The Russian Government have stated that the Shanhaikwan-Newchwang Railway will be restored to the Chinese Administration on repayment of the expenditure incurred on the Peking-Shanhaikwan Newchwang Line, and on the re-establishment of a normal state of affairs. As regards the Tientsin Siding disputes, His Majesty's Government have proposed to the Russian. Government the appointment of a Commissioner on either side to inquire and report on the conflicting claims to the land in dispute, and if thereupon the British and Russian Ministers should be unable to agree, the reference of the points of difference to arbitration. The Russian Government are in communication with the Russian Minister at Peking, on the subject of this proposal. With regard to the third part of the right hon. Baronet's Question, some of the land included in the Russian Concession is the property of British subjects, but His Majesty's Minister at Peking has been officially assured by the Russian Minister thatthe Russian Government have no idea of obliging foreign owners to have their property included in the Russian Concession. Negotiations as to Newchwang are still proceeding. I am afraid I can make no promise at present as to Papers on this subject.