§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
I rise to move "That this House consents to the revenue of India being applied to defray the expenses of any military operations which may become necessary beyond the frontiers of His Majesty's Indian possessions for the purpose of protecting the Political Mission which has been despatched to the Tibetan Government." I rise to move the Motion standing in my name in accordance with the Government of India Act, 1858, which provides that "Except for preventing or repelling actual invasion of Her Majesty's Indian possessions, or under other sudden or urgent necessity, the revenues of India shall not, without the sanction of both Houses of Parliament, be applicable to defray the expenses of any military operation carried on beyond the external frontiers of such possessions by Her Majesty's forces charged upon such revenues." In some quarters the question has been addressed 86 to us, why, when this Mission, which is row in Tibet accompanied by an armed force, was first despatched from India, His Majesty's Government did not come to Parliament and ask under the statute for the authorisation to be given by this Motion. We carefully investigated that subject, and, under legal advice, we found that no such authorisation was necessary for the despatch of a Mission accompanied by an armed protecting force. I think it is obvious on the face of it that that decision will commend itself to laymen as well as to lawyers; for everyone who is aware of the circumstances of a region such as Tibet, or Bhutan, or any other place on the confines of our Indian possessions, knows that, when a Mission for conducting negotiations or for the demarcation of a boundary is sent out by the Indian Government, it is almost invariably accompanied by an armed force for protection in a region where protection could not otherwise be afforded. There is a precedent for such action even in the case of the suzerain Power; for the delegate of China, whose journeys in our opinion, has been unduly prolonged, has been accompanied throughout, we understand, by an armed escort to ensure his safety in a country the suzerain of which he is the representative of. If there was no legal necessity for our asking for such support from Parliament, there was every reason from the point of view of Imperial politics why such a demand should not be made. To ask for authority to carry on military operations in a country in which we had had no desire to carry on any military operations, in support of a Mission which was above all things a peaceful Mission designed solely to secure peaceful intercourse between Tibet and those States for whose relations on the borders of Tibet we are responsible, a Mission which was to take no hostile action, a Mission which was to proceed with a view solely to negotiations—I say to ask for sanction to carry on military operations in such a case would have been to change the whole character of the Mission and to excite those very fears which we were most desirous to allay. The whole situation has recently been changed. The encounter which took place at Guru, on 31st March, on the day after Parliament 87 adjourned for the Easter recess, has changed the whole position and has undoubtedly brought about, to a limited extent, those military operations for which we are bound to ask the sanction of Parliament. We may all regret that it should have been necessary for the Indian troops, acting as they did under great provocation, to shed blood on that occasion. Whether it was right to send troops in support of the Mission, or whether it was right to send the Mission at all, are questions which we may discuss. But it must have been clearly understood by all those who read the telegrams that, under the circumstances of the attack by a large body of Tibetans, unless our own troops had used the arms that were in their hands there would have been no alternative to the entire annihilation of the Mission.
Those of us who have most desired to maintain throughout the peaceful character of the Mission can hardly have Sailed to be impressed both by the statements in the Blue-book and the accounts of the attitude of the Tibetan Government, between whom and the Tibetan people I venture to draw a wide distinction, in respect of the vehement feeling against foreigners, or at all events against the Indian representatives, by the Lamas of Lhasa, and the ignorance which was shown of the Power with which they had to deal. Unless some encounter which proved the superiority of modern arms took place, the indisposition to enter into negotiations, which has prevailed unfortunately for many years past, would have remained. I make that remark because I have it in my power to make an announcement to the House as TO the present situation which will show that, lamentable though the loss of life on 31st March may seem, and undesirable as it was that there should have been any encounter at all, the result of that encounter has been that the further progress of the Mission has not been hindered, and that it has attained the goal which it desired to attain. I received an hour or two ago from the Viceroy the following telegram from Colonel Younghusband, who is himself at Chalu, dated 13th April—Gyangtse," 11th, by Chinese courier. General Macdonald has brought Mission here without the loss of a single man. Tibetans 88 who opposed us highly demoralised. This valley is covered with well-built hamlets; cultivation everywhere, numerous trees. Inhabitants mostly fled, but few who remain say this is on account of heavy demands of their own Government. News just arrived that Tibetans are fleeing from fort. Two Tibetan generals have left. Chinese delegate Ma has come in. Ma says Amban will come as soon as he can arrange with Dalai Lama, and four Tibetan delegates, of unknown position, are on their way. Jongpen is in great fear, and will doubtless surrender fort to-morrow.I think that telegram will be satisfactory to the House. As the result of previous events the Mission has reached the point to which the Government determined to send it in November last, without further opposition; and what is of still greater importance is that the Chinese Amban, who has hitherto been so dilatory, is himself to meet the Mission, and the Dalai Lama is sending four Tibetan representatives to meet Colonel Younghusband and to carry on the negotiations.
Such being the present position, I presume that the House will wish me to lay before them in some little detail the reasons for sending the Mission to Tibet, Those reasons are detailed in the Blue-book, which covers the negotiations with Tibet through a long series of years. The despatch of this Mission was not the sudden act of an impatient Government or of an aggressive Viceroy. For fifteen years past the difficulties with the Tibetan Government have been increasing. It is certainly an anachronism that we should have within 300 miles of British India the capital of a State which not only refuses us political relations and trading facilities, but with whom no written communications are possible on the subjects which must arise between neighbouring States on frontier and other questions. Such a condition of things is practically unknown anywhere in the civilised world; and we have exhausted every effort with the suzerain Power to obtain a settlement of the questions which have inevitably arisen between the two Governments. The Blue-book shows that the history of this question since 1890 is one in which for fourteen years the Indian Government have been endeavouring to arrive at a settlement of subjects which they could not neglect, and in which the Tibetan Government have attempted to circumscribe their relations 89 with the Indian Government, while at the same time they have been attempting to open relations with another Power at a much greater distance. In 1890 there was concluded between Her late Majesty's Government and the suzerain Power a Convention which laid down the boundaries between Sikkim and Tibet. That Convention has been constantly violated by the Tibetans. Up to two years ago the Tibetans were in possession of and were using as pasture, ground in the neighbourhood of Giaogong, which was a recognised corner of Sikkim and was within the line of demarcation laid down by the Convention of 1890, to which the Tibetan Government, through the suzerain Power, were parties, the Indian Government endeavoured, with all the regard for the Tibetan Government which could be shown to any European Power, to arrange with them for the erection of pillars so that the boundary might be clearly defined and the opportunities of dispute reduced. But the Tibetan Government were unwilling to allow their officers to co-operate with our officers for that purpose, and when we had set up the pillars they were knocked down, even in the most unfrequented places, obviously by preconcerted action. In 1893 the Indian Government, during, I think, Lord Lansdowne's Viceroyalty, came to an agreement with the Tibetan Government on the question of trade. Free trade was practically established between India and Tibet except with regard to certain articles. A trade mart was agreed upon at Yatung, with free passage for our subjects to that mart. In addition to that, arrangements were made as to trade disputes. All those provisions were flagrantly violated by the Tibetans.
I cannot help calling as witness a gentleman whose name has been a good deal before the public in connection with the Tibetan question during the last few weeks—I mean Sir Henry Cotton. Sir Henry Cotton has written with great knowledge and with great resource on this subject, but with an entire want of sympathy, apparently, with the objects of the Viceroy and the Government of India. Sir Henry Cotton, when this commercial treaty was agreed upon, was Chief Secretary to the Government 90 of Bengal; and I find that on 25th June, 1894, he was the signatory of a very important despatch which is found in the Blue-book, and in which he points out that, although free trade as between Tibet and India had been guaranteed by the convention, the Tibetans had levied a 10 per cent. ad volorem tax—[OPPOSITION cheers]—I am glad to find that that fact is received with so much sympathy from the other side of the House, and that the Indian Government, which has hitherto been a free-trade Government in the efforts which they are making to prevent the door from being shut upon them, will have, at all events, the sympathy, if they do not have the support, of Members on the other side. But this 10 per cent. tax was not enough for the Tibetan Government. They went further and drew a cordon which prevented all Tibetan merchants passing through Phari. Consequently, as no Tibetan merchant could have reached Yatung, they might have spared themselves the trouble of putting on the tax. Sir Henry Cotton, in very pregnant language, points out that this was inconsistent with the terms of the treaty and was a matter for very seriousconsideration. Trade facilities are important, trade facilities are exceedingly desirable, for without them the whole of the long stretch of the northern frontier of India is closed to natural intercourse and commerce with foreign Powers. But, as a matter of sentiment, of feeling, and of authority, the next point in which the Tibetans violated the treaty is still more important. The privilege of entering the Chumbi Valley had been enjoyed by the inhabitants of Sikkim for many hundreds of years. No difficulties had been placed in their way in free intercourse with their neighbours in the Chumbi Valley. That has been arrested by the Tibetan Government, no one being allowed to enter the Chumbi Valley from Sikkim. That, again, Sir Henry Cotton characterises as a very serious matter in his despatch of 25th June, 1894. And no wonder, because to the people, of Sikkim the effect of coming under the protection of Great Britain had been that they were debarred from privileges in regard to association and trade with their neighbours which they had enjoyed for many hundreds of years. I see that 91 in some of Sir Henry Cotton's writings now he finds fault with the Viceroy for ignoring the Chinese Government and going straight to the Tibetans themselves by letters to the Dalai Lama. But in this very despatch the Government of India is urged to consider the weakness of the Chinese authority in Tibet, and in a subsequent letter it is laid down under the authority of Sir Henry Cotton that Mr. White, who was then demarcating the frontier, should proceed to do so without regard to the Chinese representative. Therefore, although all weight should be given to the opinion of a distinguished public servant, we must realise that, so long as he was the man on the spot, the man who is now frequently engaged in impugning the action of the Viceroy—he was the man, perhaps, of all others, who was most engaged in calling the attention of the Government of India to the serious nature of the position at which matters had arrived.
What has happened since then? Very nearly ten years have passed, and I do not think it can be urged that during those ten years the Government of India and the Government of this country have shown anything but a desire for patient consideration and conciliation in their treatment of Tibet. During all this time no arrangement has been made for trade facilities, and the treaty has been rendered nugatory by the Tibetans. The Convention of 1890 has remained violated, the boundary pillars have been knocked down, and our protected subjects in Sikkim have been excluded from rights which they had previously enjoyed. The present Viceroy has made attempt after attempt to bring home to the Dalai Lama the serious nature of the complaints which we have to make. By letters, which have been returned, by invitations to negotiate, by every means which the representative of one State could bring to bear on the representative of another State, attempts have been made to secure some peaceful solution of this difficulty. But while the Tibetan Government by ignoring their treaty obligations with us, by encroaching on our territory, thwarting our trade, destroying our pillars, and refusing to negotiate with regard to any one of these questions, were showing themselves more 92 difficult than they had ever been in regard to their neighbours, at that very time a deputation from the Dalai Lama was sent to St. Petersburg on a so-called religious mission, to which, it was perfectly clear from the statements in the Blue-book, the Tibetans attached very considerable political signifiance. I wish to deal as delicately as possible with this question, as it affects the relations between Great Britain and Russia. The whole subject was threshed out between Count Benckendorff and Lord Lansdowne, and the result is shown in the Blue-book. The representations which were first made by the Russian Government as to their interests in Tibet were subsequently placed in a different light, and assurances, which were regarded as satisfactory by His Majesty's Government, were received from the Russian Government with regard to their action in that country. We, on the other hand, put clearly before the Russian Government the limits which we had assigned to the action of the Government of India in Tibet.
I would have the House realise this question as regards the influence of the Russian Government. Lhasa is not a place in which we are moved by any jealousy of a foreign Government, or by the desire to establish anything at the expense of a foreign Government. But we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that Lhasa is within 300 miles of the. Indian frontier and that Tibet does not touch any portion of the Russian frontier at a distance of less than 1,000 miles, going over country which is, perhaps, the most inhospitable and inaccessible which could be found. And it is a historical fact that since. British dominion has existed in India, Tibet has had relations with only three Powers—with the Chinese Government, which is her suzerain, with Nepal, which is largely politically connected with the Indian Government, and with the Indian Government itself—and His Majesty's Government could not acquiesce in any change that would result in a change in the political status quo in Tibet. If any Power were to establish, or attempt to establish, a predominant interest in Tibet; if any Power were to send a mission to Lhasa which enabled them to influence or to give advice to the Tibetan Government, or to control in any way 93 the action of the Tibetan Government; still more, if any Power were to propose to establish a protectorate over Lhasa—all these operations are operations on which His Majesty's Government could not look without concern. Any one of them would accentuate in a high degree those border difficulties from which it is the object of every Indian administrator to free himself as far as possible. Any one of them would cause considerable unrest in Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim; and I cannot imagine anything that would be less desirable than that, in any portion of the Chinese Empire which abuts on British territory, we should be exposed to those negotiations through a more or less inanimate third party which have so far occupied the diplomatic mind of Europe in some other portions of the Chinese Empire during the last few years.
Therefore, a point arrived, in February of Last year, when my predecessor intimated to the Viceroy that, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, everything having been tried in the way of patience and conciliation without effect it was now desirable to advance the Mission to Khambajong, and there endeavour to carry out the negotiations which we could not carry out within our own frontier. That advance was originally agreed to by the Chinese Government on 19th July. The Chinese Government accepted Khambajong, and the Dalai Lama named two delegates and sent credentials to enable them to meet the British delegates, on 13th August, after further negotiations, the Chinese Government acknowledged warmly the desirability of a meeting of delegates, which would be proceeded with at once. I think His Majesty's Government after that had real reason for complaint over the very ridiculous position in which our delegates were put at Khambajong. The Chinese Government had accepted the meeting and directed the Dalai Lama, as suzerain, to send delegates. He sent delegates, and the Chinese representative started early in December, 1902. He was within Chinese territory in July. The British officer who was with him in Chinese territory in Jam was at Colonel Younghusband's camp at Khambajong in July. The Chinese Amban, whether from his own fault, or, as there is reason 94 to think was the case, from being delayed by being refused transport by the Dalai Lama, having started in December. 1902, reached Lhasa in February of this year. We have every reason to suppose that, had it not been for the advance of Colonel Younghusband to Gyangtse, the Chinese Amban would still be pursuing his journey. On the other hand, the representatives of the Dalai Lama turned up with unfailing precisian at the moment they were expected. They had credentials and they presented them but, having paid a formal visit and received a visit in return, they declared that they were not there as Chinese envoys in any shape or way and that they would take no messages whatever to the Dalai Lama. They shut themselves up, and further proceedings were indefinitely postponed, In serious matters of this kind it is necessary for a Power to prove that its earnestness is not to be mistaken or trifled with in such a fashion. The Government, who were adverse to any advance, found that the position was getting worse instead of better. The Tibetan people showed themselves friendly and anxious to sell supplier and declared that they would cooperate in every respect, but the Tibetan Government used force and prevented the provision of supplies or any intercourse with the people of the country. In the meanwhile two British subjects were arrested and imprisoned at Gyangtse, and a request to release them met with a refusal. The circumstances therefore pointed to its being absolutely necessary, it any answer was to be obtained at all to the numerous representations which had been made, that further steps should be taken. The Government of India most clearly showed the necessity of advancing to Gyangtse. His Majesty's Government considered that question; and on 1st. October while my noble friend was still Secretary of state, a message was sent authorising an advance to Gyangtse, if negotiations were broken off, on 6th November a further telegram was sent actually authorising the advance, but strictly limiting the objects for which we were going to make the advance. Those objects were to obtain by negotiations satisfaction for the past, and a modus vivendi for the future. I think it is conclusively shown that, reluctant as we might be to take strong measures it was 95 absolutely necessary for both of these objects that some measures should be taken. I do not think that I could express the state of things better than it was expressed by the Government of India in the despatch written in November last, to which the right hon. Gentleman opposite thought we ought to have sent an answer. Their statement was that it was necessary to impress the Tibetan Government with a sense of our earnestness in these negotiations, and of our power to carry them through; that we had no quarrel whatever with the Tibetans, and no desire to occupy their country—and we have no such desire—that we had no wish to establish a permanent mission in Tibet—and we have no wish to do so. For fourteen years we have had to acquiesce in the denial of all those relations which exist between other civilised States or other neighbouring States in Asia, and last year, in addition to that, our accredited representatives were met by accredited representatives from the other side, who were not willing to do business with them. They have arrested two of our subjects, who are still not released. They made an attack on the transport supplied to us by Nepal. If we are to retain the confidence of the people of Nepal, of the people of Sikkim, of all those who cannot move without our authority, if we are to preserve our own authority and avoid a recurrence of these continual disputes, a settlement must be arrived at. That, and that only, is the object of our undertaking.
I have said, and I believe it would not be contested from the Blue-book, that His Majesty's Government have throughout shown the greatest reluctance to embark on any mission or expedition outside the frontiers of India. Nobody who has read the Blue-book could doubt that. But I have seen it suggested in various quarters that His Majesty's Government have been impelled forward and unduly hurried into action by the acquisitiveness of the Viceroy. The period of office of the present Viceroy has already exceeded the ordinary period. He has been, I think, five years and four months in the country. It is to be alleged against Lord Curzon that he has in any respect shown a desire for expeditions, for foreign entanglements, for incitement to trouble in regard to our 96 neighbours, for the undue assertion of British interests at the expense of neighbouring States, I think that the record of the last five years with regard to expeditions on the Indian frontier, or beyond it, should be realised in Lord Curzon's favour. Dealing as we do with a number of tribes, who are not directly under the control of their rulers, on our frontier and with States which are themselves not ruled with anything like European accuracy or consideration, it is inevitable that there should be from time to time small expeditions. It is also inevitable that at times there should be danger of much larger entanglements on the frontiers or India. I look back on the last four Viceroys. During Lord Dufferin's period of office, from iSS4 to 1889, there were five considerable expeditions, including the annexation of Burma, and 43,500 troops were engaged on them. During the period of office of his successor there were seven expeditions, none of them of great magnitude, but involving the employment of 36,200 troops. During Lord Elgin's five years of office there were nine such expeditions, including the Tirah expedition, on which 34,000 troops were engaged, and Chitral, on which 19,000 troops were engaged. In all, 87,000 troops were employed during his period of office. With regard to Lord Curzon, in the first year of his period of office there was no such expedition, in the second year there was none, in the third year there were two small expeditions, and in 1902 another small expedition. The whole of the troops engaged in these expeditions, one of which was merely a blockade, were a little over 9,000 men. I believe that that result is largely due, not merely to a determination to avoid trouble of that kind and consolidate resources at home, but to the frontier policy which Lord Curzon instituted and which he himself described in a speech the other day as a policy of military concentration as against diffusion and of tribal conciliation in place of exasperation. This is not the place, nor is it the time, for me to attempt any appreciation of Lord Curzon's career as Governor-General of India.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.),
who was received with Ministerial cries of 97 "Order," said that by a Rule of the House they were not allowed, except on a special Motion, to criticise the Viceroy. Having regard to that, he did not think that the appreciation of him which the right hon. Gentleman was about to give, and which did not come within the terms of the Motion, should be allowed.
It is perfectly open to the hon. Member to criticise the policy of the Viceroy of India.
§ MR. BRODRICK
I was going to say that I do not propose to occupy the time of the House with any appreciation of the general policy of Lord Curzon; but I do say that while, daring the five years in which he has controlled the Government of India, almost every department of that Government has been overhauled and reformed by the immense labour and knowledge which he has brought to bear upon his work; while he has shown an unquenchable desire for justice in his administration in India, he has also shown as full a regard—anil a fuller regard than would have been expected of any man so strongly imbued with Imperial instincts—for peace on the frontiers of India. It is in these circumstances that we have to come to Parliament to ask for authority for the military operations, if military operations they be called, which may be entailed upon the Mission and the force supporting the Mission. In asking for this we do not desire to diverge in any degree from the policy of patience and conciliation which we have pursued in the past, and which we desire again to pursue, but we ask for it because we are conscious that that policy, as interpreted to the Tibetans, has failed to secure its object, which is the removal of the questions which have caused difficulty in the past. It is because we found that the suzerain Power was unable to obtain for us that consideration, or even that actual exchange of views between us and Tibet, which even the suzerain Power desired to enforce. It is because we found that the Tibetans mistook patience for weakness, and conciliation for want of power. As I said at the beginning of my speech, I do not for a moment wish to say anything which would cause the smallest 98 feeling between this country and Russia with regard to these operations; but the Blue-book teems with admissions, not of what Russia proposed to do, but of what the Tibetans were under the impression they would obtain from the Russian Government in the way of support against the legitimate demands of His Majesty's Government. It is absolutely important, if we lay down that any Power is to be dominant in Tibet, that that Power must be the British; that that should be known to those chiefly concerned—namely, the Tibetans themselves; and that it should be realised that in regard to all the ordinary commerce of nations—questions of boundary, questions of demarcation, and questions of trade—that consideration which is due to a pacific, but at the same time powerful, neighbour must be allowed to the British Government as it would be to any other nation. I think that we may congratulate ourselves that, despite the episode of 31st March, our Mission has now reached Gyangtse, a place where, being on one of the main trade routes in Tibet, it is likely that the delegates who are now accredited will be allowed to treat with our Mission. That being so, I trust the time may not be far distant when a satisfactory arrangement will be entered upon. His Majesty's Government adhere to the policy laid down in the various despatches to the Indian Government. We ask for no more than a fair adjustment of the subjects of difference between us, and we ask also for some machinery which will enable us to address representations to the authorities of Tibet such as nations address to each other. In so doing, with the support of this House, we shall, I think, have taken a long step, by timely agreement, to secure for many years to come the peaceful condition of the north-east frontier of India.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House consents to the revenue of India being applied to defray the expenses of any Military Operations which have or may become necessary beyond the frontiers of His Majesty's Indian Possessions, for the purpose of protecting the Political Mission which has been despatched to the Tibetan Government."—(Mr. Secretary Brodrick.)
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
The right hon. Gentleman was happily able to make one announcement to the House which will be received with satisfaction in every part of it—namely, that this mysterious Mission—as to which we have had very little information so far as its definite ultimate object is concerned—has reached without the further shedding of blood or opposition, the point to which the Government have authorised it to go. But the right hon. Gentleman, I am sorry to say, failed altogether to tell us that which we require to know before we can assent to this Motion namely, what is the immediate definite policy of the Government in the matter. Does the short despatch. No. 132 in the Blue-book, express the policy which is to be pursued by the Government? of one thing we are certain, and that is that that despatch does not express or convey the policy approved and suggested by Lord Curzon. It is in distinct conflict with that policy in many most important particulars; and what the House of Commons and the country are entitled to know is which is to be the master, the Imperial Government or the Viceroy of India. The right hon. Gentleman indulged in a long encomium of Lord Curzon; and there is much in what he said that will attract our approval. There is no question of the industry, the knowledge, and the capacity in all respects that Lord Curzon has shown. But I think no one can read this Blue-book without seeing that Lord Curzon, at all events in his despatches, is often too apt to be led away by his rhetorical powers, a failing which we, have found in other parts of the Empire also. Lord Curzon exaggerates, for the purpose of what he may consider a great stroke of policy, events of comparatively small importance; he sometimes trenches very nearly upon very delicate ground, and he uses phrases which may have an evil effect on the relations of this country with some of our neighbours. It is from this point of view that I wish to examine the position of affairs. The right hon. Gentleman has said for one thing that we had no quarrel with the people of Tibet, that the people of Tibet were not the same as the Government of Tibet. I have known other 100 countries of which an observation of that kind can be truly made. The right hon. Gentleman also spoke of the poor villagers of Tibet who had abandoned their homes and fled to places of comparative security because of the heavy demands of their own Government. Here, again, we have a somewhat familiar picture.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
That does not interfere with the truth of the analogy. Let us consider the questions which the right hon. Gentleman has brought forward as being the dreadful cause and origin of all this difficulty. There is the question of pasturage. We are told that sometimes the sheep trespass on the Sikkim side, and that sometimes the sheep from the Sikkim side find themselves on the other side. Really, to say that we are to undergo all this cost, this difficulty, and this danger to our relations with other people on any such account is ridiculous. Then some demarcation Pillars have been removed. But the Viceroy of India at the time they were pulled down told us that he was satisfied it was not done by any official authority. In that wild country with no policeman on the beat to take care that the pillars are not interfered with, one may readily imagine that a new and conspicuous pillar would attract the attention, and possibly the antipathy, of some of the simple-minded herdsmen. Then there has been the difficulty of compelling the Tibetans to trade. A mart has been opened; but, although the water is there, the horses will not come to drink, and that is made a ground of complaint. The Tibetans have been for centuries a very exclusive people. They are a protective people, and like to keep other people and other people's goods out of their country. They are not enamoured of aliens. Therefore to open up avenues of trade is not all that is required to make people come and trade with you; and, indeed, I cannot imagine anything less likely to conduce to that purpose than an invasion of the country and the slaughter of hundreds of its inhabitants. We are also told that letters have been sent to the Dalai Lama 101 and that they have been returned unopened. But why were they returned? Because they should have been addressed to the suzerain Power. I notice that the suzerainty of China over Tibet is differently spoken of according to the purpose for which it is referred to. The noble Lord the late Secretary for India said—Strong measures on the part of the Government of India would be viewed with much disquietude and suspicion, and it must be remembered that Tibet is politically subordinate to China.But then Lord Curzon says—We regard the so-called suzerainty of China over Tibet as a constitutional fiction, a political affectation"—there is the rhetoric coming in——which has only been maintained because of its convenience to both parties.And the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs adopts the view that the Chinese Government are a broken reed to lean upon in this respect.
Lord Curzon says—China is always ready to break down the barriers of ignorance and obstruction, and to open Tibet to the civilising influences of trade, but her pious wishes are defeated by the shortsighted stupidity of the Lama.In the same way Tibet is only too anxious to meet our advances, but she is prevented from doing so by the despotic action of the suzerain.Lord Lansdowne endorses that as a perfectly accurate account of the value for all practical purposes of the suzerainty of China when you come to attempt to make it the basis for dealing with Tibet. It is not discreet or wise to use contemptuous language of that kind of those two Powers, one great and one small, with whom we are endeavouring to put ourselves on good relations; and, above all. I do not think that the use of such language, as well as the whole action of the Government in this matter, has been at all likely to strengthen our position—away from India altogether—in another quarter of the world, where the integrity of China and the goodwill of China are after all of some value to this country. Hut I was going over the grievances; there were also two British subjects who were said to have been tortured and 102 killed. I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he knows what has become of those two British subjects. As he said they were lying in prison I presume that the worst, at any rate, that was said of them is not true. The right hon. Gentleman, leaving these things and turning to Russia, says that Russia, to put it plainly, has been coquetting with Tibet: and Lord Curzon, in summing up, as he thinks, the necessities of the case, says our interests are seriously imperilled by the absolute breakdown of the treaty arrangements hitherto made through the medium of China by the obstructive inertia of the Tibetans themselves, and still more by arrangements freshly concluded with another great Power to our detriment. Now we are entitled to ask, Does His Majesty's Government endorse that? Do the Government accept that which is put forward here in some sort of crescendo scale among the grievances supposed to be behind the action of the Indian Government in this matter? I should hardly think the Government do, because I find that Lord Lansdowne accepted the assurances of the Russian Government—assurances which really might be supposed to be hardly necessary by anyone who reads Mr. Sven Hedin's account of his travels through Russian Mongolia down into Tibet: and here is Lord Lansdowne meeting the Russian Ambassador on 17th November last and expressing astonishment, almost indignation, at the effect which the advance of the Mission had made in Russia. He said—I expressed my great surprise at the excitement which the announcement seemed to have created. I had, I said, already pointed out to his Excellency that Tibet was, on the one hand, in close geographical connection with India, and, on the other, far remote from any of Russia's Asiatic possessions. Our interest in Tibetan affairs was therefore wholly different from any which Russia could have in them.That is the view which Lord Lansdowne takes; and therefore, I ask, Is it the opinion of His Majesty's Government, as is stated by Lord Curzon, that the Russian Government have established relations with the Tibetan Government which are intended to be to our detriment? We want to know what the policy of the Government is. The policy of Lord Curzon, which evidently broke down the scruples and hesitations of the home 103 Government, is fully explained in the Blue-book—We do not think it possible that the Tibetan Government—which we dissociate entirely from the Tibetan people—should be allowed to ignore its treaty obligations, to thwart trade, to encroach upon our territory, to destroy our border pillars, and to refuse even to receive our communications. Still less do we think that, when at last an amicable arrangement has been arranged for the settlement of these difficulties, we should acquiesce in our Mission being boycotted by the very persons who have been deputed to meet it, our officers insulted, our subjects arrested and ill-used, and our authority despised by a petty Power which only mistakes our forbearance for weakness, and which thinks that by an attitude of obdurate inertia ii can once again compel us as it has done in the past, to desist from our intentions. We have already had to pay a heavy penalty for past mistakes in this respect.and again—Our proposal, therefore, is that, assuming it to be decided by His Majesty's Government to respond in a favourable sense to the overtures of the Wai-wu-pu, the Chinese Government shall be informed that we can undertake the negotiations nowhere else than at Lhasa, and that a British commercial mission will start for that place at a suitable date in the forthcoming spring, there to meet the Chinese Resident and a duly-appointed high official of the Tibetan Government. We propose that the negotiations should cover not merely the small question of the Sikkim frontier, but those others of which I have been speaking,and he speaks in one place, as the culmination of the whole policy, of the establishment of a permanent agent in Lhasa.
§ * LORD GEORGE HAMILTON (Middlesex, Ealing)
As the right hon. Gentleman has read from lord Curzon's despatch, will he read the Government's reply?
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I am going to. Lord Curzon speaks of our having had experience of the like kind before, and the consequences. We have had experience before, and the associations connected with the name of Cavignari do not seem to invite us to undertake a similar policy again. Here is the reply of the Government, dated 6th November, 1903—In view of the recent conduct of the Tibetans, His Majesty's Government feel that it would be impossible not to take action, and they accordingly sanction the advance of the Mission to Gyangtse.104 that is the place where the Mission has arrived at.They, are, however, clearly of opinion that this step should not be allowed to lead to occupation or to permanent intervention in Tibetan affairs in any form.a satisfactory and sweeping statement.The advance should be made for the sole purpose of obtaining satisfaction, and as soon as reparation is obtained a withdrawal should be effected. While His Majesty's Government consider the proposed action to be necessary, they are not prepared to establish a permanent Mission in Tibet, and the question of enforcing trade facilities in that country must be considered in the light of the decision conveyed in this telegram.The concluding words leave me in some doubt, but that is the policy, I presume, or the Government to-day. The House will see that it is diametrically opposed to the policy of the Viceroy. That is the crucial point. To Gyangtse and no further, no further interference in the affairs of Tibet, and no Resident in Lhasa. Lord Curzon, on the other hand, wishes to review the entire question of our future relations, commercial and otherwise, with Tibet. And "otherwise" is rather a wide word; but I think that that leaves us in a position to doubt which is the stronger of the two, which is the more powerful magnet—the Government of the King in this country or Lord Curzon and his Government in India.
I think that in all the circumstances, as we desire to see this Mission safely withdrawn from the position in which it has been placed with as little difficulty as possible, perhaps this Motion might be qualified by some such words as these—it is a mere suggestion which I throw out, because we have so little time to consider this matter:—"That this House consents to the charges for the armed escort accompanying the political Mission in Tibet being defrayed from the revenues of the Government of India, subject to the undertaking given by His Majesty's Government in their despatch of 6th November. 1903."Or you might say more explicitly, "subject to the undertaking given by His Majesty's Government that so soon as satisfaction has been obtained for specific infractions of the convention the expedition will thereupon be withdrawn from Tibetan territory." I can assure hon. 105 and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that we do not wish to do anything which will either endanger the Mission or the escort, or, on the other hand, diminish the dignity and authority of the Indian Government and the Imperial Government in that quarter of the world. Speaking for myself, I disapprove of the whole expedition, as far as I can judge it; but, as it has been sent, and as it has advanced to this point, it would be desirable, in the least difficult and most effective way, to withdraw it without damage from the position in when it has been placed. Therefore, I hope that in the course of this debate some such words as these will be adopted. While they would secure the safety of the Mission and secure our Empire from any damage on account of its position, they would, at the same time, be a guarantee and pledge, not to this House and the country only, but to the great States which we have brought into the matter, or are interested necessarily in the mutter—Russia and China—that the undertakings of the Government were seriously given and were meant to be fully discharged.
§ * LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has realised the nature of the difficulties with which Lord Curzon and the Indian Government have for some years had to deal in connection with the action of Tibet. It is easy to say in this House. "It is only a matter of a few sheep straying over the border, a few pillars being knocked down and one or two persons being imprisoned, and of letters being returned." The right hon. Gentleman and those who acted with him are, I suppose, in favour of the maintenance of peace, not only in Tibet, but throughout the world. What is the foundation of peace throughout the world? Is it not the observance and maintenance of treaties? If Tibet, because she is a weak and impotent country, is allowed deliberately to snap her fingers at us and refuse to fulfil conditions into which she had entered, and we were to tolerate such conduct, are there not many other nations more powerful than Tibet who might be encouraged to follow her example? The gravity of the situation is 106 that Tibet has wilfully and deliberately for nearly ten years past ignored and repudiated a treaty which, with the utmost deliberation, was entered into on her behalf by the suzerain Power, the Government of China. It is quite a mistake to suppose that the people of Tibet have always been an exclusive people. On the contrary, our relations with Tibet in the time of Warren Hastings were satisfactory. Little by little the Tibetans have adopted a more exclusive policy, acting under the influence of a certain clerical sect at Lhasa, and about thirteen years ago the position became rather serious. It was impossible to allow Tibet to go on violating our territory and inflicting injuries on our subjects, and it was necessary to send an expedition there. The result was that an armed collision took place and the Tibetans were repulsed with considerable slaughter. The Government of India were most anxious to prevent the repetition of such encounters, which must necessarily degenerate into mere slaughter and desired to negotiate a treaty with Tibet to put an end to these disturbances. With great difficulty they induced the Chinese Government to agree to negotiate, a treaty was made, and certain points were reserved. Two and a half years later these reserved points were settled, and anybody who has read the Blue-book will see that the Government of India made concession after concession to China and Tibet in order to come to a reasonable and fair arrangement with Tibet. The treaty was ratified by both parties, and from that day to this the Tibetans have deliberately ignored its provisions. The Blue-book shows that the Government of China had no power to compel the Tibetans to respect the treaty which they had, on their behalf, entered into. What was to be done? Our territory was not seriously, but constantly, invaded, the pillars which marked the boundary were thrown down, our trade arrangements were absolutely ignored, every letter of expostulation which the Indian Government sent to the Tibetan Government was returned unopened, and the messengers who conveyed those letters went in danger of their lives. Was such a state of things to be tolerated? We brought pressure to bear 107 on the Chinese Government, and it was finally agreed that there was to be a meeting between the representatives of the Indian Government, the representatives of the Chinese Government, and the representatives of the Tibetan Government, and they met at a certain place. The first thing that the representatives of the Tibetan Government did when they arrived at the place of meeting was to shut themselves up in a fort, and for three months they declined to hold any communication whatever with the British representatives. We cannot withdraw the Mission. The light hon. Gentleman suggests that if the Government would give a guarantee that the Mission is to be withdrawn, the Opposition might assent to the Resolution which is before the House. But we cannot withdraw the Mission; we must come to a definite arrangement with Tibet.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I suggested that the Mission should be withdrawn "as soon as satisfaction has been obtained for specific infractions of the convention."
§ * LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
We want something more than that. We want, not merely satisfaction for what has been done, not merely that reasonable arrangements should be entered into, but we must have some guarantee that whatever arrangements are entered into will be carried out. That being so, I think the Government have acted with great moderation. Certainly, while I was at the India Office I think we perhaps erred on the side of patience and forbearance. I am not at all sure that it was not mistaken for weakness. On the very day that I resigned the position developed, and it was necessary to take a forward move; and, although the telegrams which went in my name were sent subsequently to my resignation, I entirely agree with their purport. I should have suggested communications of that kind being sent to the Indian Government.
I quite admit that some incidents occurred which rather added to the difficulty and embarrassment of the Indian Government. We received information from a number of quarters 108 widely distant, but all corroborative, that there were underhand negotiations going on between the Tibetan Government and, if not the Russian Government, certain persons who were supposed to represent the Russian Government. I have never been one of those who have looked with great jealousy and suspicion upon the advance of Russia in certain parts of Asia. I believe that Russia has her mission just as we have in Asia, and that there is room in Asia for the legitimate extension of the influence of both Empires. But if there is one spot in Asia which is absolutely outside the sphere of Russian influence it is Tibet; and the Russian Ambassador, authorised by Count Lamsdorff, has admitted more than once that it is outside the legitimate, sphere of Russian influence. I wish it were possible to come to some arrangement with Russia as regards the spheres in which Great Britain and Russia should respectively exercise their influence in Asia; but I confess that in later years my hope of coming to such an agreement has diminished. It is exceedingly difficult to accept without reserve the assurances which we receive from Russian high officials. Whenever Russia has entered into a convention with us she has, so far as my knowledge goes, honourably adhered to that convention, and any one of the statesmen who are the heads of the various departments of the Russian Government who gives an assurance to our representatives does so in perfect good faith. But the Russian Government is curiously constituted. Its members are not individuals who have Cabinet responsibilities. Each head of a department is responsible only to the Emperor, and no one has any right to interfere with or even to know what is going on outside his own department. It happens again and again that an assurance is given by the Minister of one department of which the Ministers of other departments are utterly unaware. Now, assume for a minute that some irresponsible agent of Russia in Lhasa hoisted the Russian flag there, would not the position become very difficult? It is easy enough for a great country like Russia to undertake not to hoist her flag; but if one of her officials does hoist it it becomes very difficult to remove it; and, if the Russians did not do so, the Tibetans 109 would suppose that they had the support of the whole power of Russia, and then no doubt hon. Gentlemen opposite, if such an incident occurred, would call for censure on our Government for being so short-sighted as not to have prevented such a contingency. Under these circumstances the Indian Government, very properly I think, insisted on pushing forward the Mission to show they were in earnest; and it must be remembered that although the encounter which took place the other day and resulted in heavy loss to the Tibetans—and which might also be decribed as a massacre of Tibetans—yet, on the other hand, if it had not been for the extraordinary courage and coolness of our officers and their Sikh escort, the massacre might have been the other way.
Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition wants an assurance from the Government as to the limits beyond which they do not intend to push their policy. While I think it is necessary for us to insist upon arriving at a reasonable arrangement and to obtain guarantees from the Tibetan Government, I am strongly opposed to any movement which would in any way result in the annexation of any portion of Tibet or of making ourselves responsible for any portion of the administration of that country. So far as I know that is the view of the Prime Minister and the Government; therefore, if the Leader of the Opposition wants such an assurance, I believe he can get it much more effectively from the mouth of the Prime Minister than by anything embodied in a Resolution. My own view is we have quite as much territory in Asia as we can manage, and, although it may be necessary here and there to round off our frontiers and possibly to extend our political influence, it must always be borne in mind that the extension of territory and the incorporation of it in the Empire must necessarily involve increased military establishments and expenditure. There is no reason whatever why any movement of that kind should take place in regard to Tibet. The Buddhist religion is not aggressive, the Tibetans are easily governed, and the attitude of the monkish clique at Lhasa is not in accordance with the views of a large portion of the population of Tibet. 110 Hon. Gentlemen are naturally anxious to prevent a repetition of a collision between our troops and the Tibetans. What would be the most effective method of bringing about their desire? By unanimously passing this Resolution. If it receives the unanimous assent of the House, and if it is associated with an undertaking given by the Prime Minister, that beyond securing a reasonable arrangement with the Tibet Government there is no intention of making any further forward movement, I believe the House will feel it has done a good afternoon's work. We shall have shown the world generally that we decline to allow any foreign influence to enter into or interfere with Tibetan affairs, that we have no wish to impose any heavy penalty upon the Tibetans, or to ask them to enter into any arrangement that is not reasonable. But for this we must contend. I hope my suggestion may be acted upon, and that when the Question is put the Government, as I have no doubt they will, giving the assurance asked for as to the limitations of their policy, will receive the unanimous vote of the House.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
said he did not think the right hon. and noble Lord who had just sat down had really appreciated the position of affairs. Nothing that had recently occurred had excited such a profound feeling of regret as the unfortunate incident reported on Good Friday morning. The whole country has received with the most profound feeling of remorse the news of the slaughter of 600 or 700 practically unarmed men by disciplined soldiers armed with the most modern weapons of precision. In regard to that slaughter the House must have been glad to hear the views of the right hon. and noble Lord; but the right hon. and noble Lord had not helped the case of the Government very much. The Leader of the Opposition had put the matter very plainly, and they were all greatly indebted to him for doing so. The right hon. Member for Stirling Burghs asked the question, "Are the Government still bound by the despatch of 6th November. 1903, in which Lord Curzon was instructed not to take any steps which would lead to the occupation of Tibet or permanent intervention in Tibetan affairs in any form? The late 111 Secretary for India had justified the Government for going a little further by a reference to a speech by Lord Lansdowne in which he said that the Convention of 1890 had not been observed by the Tibetans. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that that convention was not complete or clear and that the settlement of the difficulty in regard to the grazing lands in Sikkim had been left over for after consideration. The Tibetans claimed a right to these grazing lands and that claim had been admitted by the Indian Government. That had not been sufficiently borne in mind. There was another point—the establishment of a trading centre to which the Indian merchants should send their goods to be exchanged for Tibetan produce—a sort of free port in the desert. But such markets were very difficult to establish. For these two reasons it was not very easy for the Tibetans to observe the clauses in the convention strictly. A third point was the pulling down of the boundary posts. The Leader of the Opposition when alluding to these posts suggested that they had been put up by the Indian Government for the purpose of provocation. What took place was that when the difficulties about the grazing lands in Sikkim were constantly recurring, the Indian Government sent a Mission to go along the frontier and, as a means of testing the question of the boundary, to set up a series of pillars to shut out the Tibetans from the grazing lands. That was why the posts were pulled down by the Tibetans. These were the trifling details which the Leader of the Opposition mentioned as the only grounds for sending an armed Mission into Tibet.
But a new ground had been stated by the right hon. Gentleman, who quoted the very expression used by the Viceroy of India, viz., that "arrangements had been freshly concluded by the Tibetans with another great Power to our detriment." Now, was it because Russia had done something to our detriment or was it because of a frontier difficulty that this armed political Mission had been sent into Tibet? The House ought to get from the Government full information as to whether we were inaugurating a policy against a great European Power. 112 Russia was now engaged in a very serious war. She observed a very correct attitude when this country was at war a few years ago; and therefore, no imputation should be made regarding her conduct which could not be sustained. There was in the Blue-book a very circumstantial account of the visit of certain Tibetans to Russia. They appeared to have been a mysterious body of Buddhists who went to solicit subscriptions from other Buddhists in Russia. Then the attention of the Russian Press was attracted to the visit and great things were expected from it. The Blue book contained extracts from the Russian Press from which it appeared that the mission carried a letter from the Chief Lama to a Russian official stating that the Dalai Lama was well and hoping that the official to whom the letter was addressed was in good health also. The Foreign Office immediately asked the Russian Ambassador for an explanation; and was informed by the Russian Government that the mission was wholly of a religious character. There was no suggestion that the Russian Government had any interest in the matter; and he thought that the Government ought to speak with greater plainness on the subject. Did the Government accept the statement of the Russian Government, and also Lord Lansdowne's statement, that the only object in view was the rectification of the frontier. The military character of the enterprise was to be deplored. The late Secretary of State for India said, What else could be done? The Chinese might be pressed to secure a settlement of the difficulty. Why not wait a year or two? What was the use of hurrying? What was to be gained from the policy that was being pursued? It all, of course, depended on what the policy was; but it had not been explained.
§ MR. MOON (St. Pancras, N.)
said it was quite clear that the Tibetan mission to Russia had produced a considerable effect in that country. The following summary, dated 17th June, appeared in the Blue-book—The reappearance of the Tibetan Mission in Russia, according to the Nove Vremya, proves that the favourable impressions carried back by Dorshieff to his home from his previous mission have confirmed the Dalai Lama in his intention of contracting the friendliest relations 113 with Russia. This is not astonishing; those acquainted with the Far East must know that in those lands news travels, if not with the speed of lightning, at any rate much faster than it does by Russian telegraph; and therefore it cannot be wondered at that the news of the events at Pechili, the capture of the Taku Forts, of Tientsin, and Peking, the Russian victories in Manchuria, the taking of Mukden, etc., have penetrated to the Lama of Tibet. Under these circumstances, a rapprochement with Russia must seem to him the most natural step, as Russia is the only Power able to counteract the intrigues of Great Britain, who has so long been endeavouring to obtain admission, and only awaits an opportunity to force an entrance. It would also be only natural if other Central Asiatic and West Chinese nations were to aspire towards a similar friendship with Russia, who has won the respect and confidence of all who own her sway.It was quite clear that one of the objects of this country was to protect its prestige and honour in that part of the world; another was to resume trade; and a third to protect India against attack. Lord Curzon, during the discussion on the Indian Budget, used the following striking phrases—India is like a fortress with the sea as a moat on two sides, and mountains on the third. Beyond the walls is a glacis of varying breadth and dimensions. We do not want to occupy it; but we cannot afford to see it occupied by a foe. We are quite content that it should remain in the hands of allies and friends, but if unfriendly influences creep up and lodge under our walls, we are compelled to intervene, because danger would thereby grow up and menace our security. This is the secret of the whole position in Arabia, Persia. Afghanistan, Tibet, and Siam.The mission from Tibet to Russia was of a rather suspicious character. The leader was a person named Dorshieff, who had since been raised to a very high position. The Times correspondent telegraphed from Tuna on 2nd April as follows—M. Dorshieff, who is now at Lhasa, apparently exercises a predominant influence. He has been made Master of the Ordnance and Treasurer to the Dalai Lama, a post technically known as the Dzasak, one of the highest offices of State.What right had the Russians to take the line they appeared to have taken. This country was bound to see that facilities, advantages, and opportunities in Tibet were not given to any other European Power which were not given to itself. His hon. friend the Member for Bethnal Green, whose knowledge of India they all 114 recognised, obtained a Return which showed that the Tibetans had a considerable amount of valuable commodities which they could offer in exchange of trade. Hon. Members on the other side of the House would recognise that both for our own prestige and honour, and also for the strategical advantages which would accrue to India, this Mission must be sanctioned.
§ * MR. TREVELYAN (Yorkshire, W. R., Elland)
thought that sufficient attention had not been given to the way in which the House had been treated by the Government in regard to this matter. Prior to the Easter vacation the House bad had no real opportunity of discussing it, and had been in fact treated in a very cavalier way, having regard to the importance of the question. Now, however much the House might object to this Mission its power over it had been altogether nullified. It was impossible now to turn the Mission back, and all the House could do was to raise its protest; it could do nothing to cure the past and exercise very little influence over the future. This question ought to have been brought to their notice on some previous occasion. The Government were under a constitutional obligation to obtain the consent of Parliament to any military expedition outside the frontiers of India. There had been debates on previous occasions as to whether it was necessary to obtain the previous consent of Parliament, and the Government of the day had sometimes taken the line that it was impossible in times of emergency and at times when the House was not sitting as in the cases of the Afghan and Burmese wars. But in this case the circumstances were entirely different. Here the, policy had been deliberatedly decided on; Parliament was actually sitting; and for weeks and months the military expedition was waiting to advance into Tibet. The only thing that was said was that it was a political Mission, but it was accompanied by an armed force of 1,000 or 2,000 men; whilst in the despatches from the Indian Government there were constant statements that they expected there would be resistance although it would not be serious. Obviously the expedition was a military expedition and it was playing with words 115 to call it a political Mission, and it was not treating this House in a proper way to preclude them from discussing the reasons for this expedition before it was entered upon.
Those in authority who had spoken to-day had chiefly laid emphasis on the fact of the excuses which had been made from time to time by the Tibetans. A good deal had been said as to the various ways in which they had thwarted our trade. No one would suggest that the trade between Tibet and India was a great trade, but it was a steadily increasing one. Imports from Tibet had risen from seven lacs of rupees in 1890 to nineteen lacs in 1902, whilst the exports to Tibet had risen from four to seven lacs in the same period. So that could hardly be a reason for this expedition, and the question of the removal of the boundary pillars could hardly be alleged as a reason. The House had not yet heard from those in authority very much about Russia, but it was only fair to assume that the chief reason why the Indian Government had brought this question to the front was their alarm at the action of Russia in Tibet. It was the Russian relations which were the real cause of our advance into Tibet, and the realgist of the matter was whether Russia had such relations with Tibet which would justify our Government in believing they had designs of establishing themselves there in such a way and in such a force as would constitute a dinger to the Indian Empire. There was only one definite allegation with regard to the Tibetan relations with Russia, and that was the Tibet in mission to St. Petersburg. The hon. Member for St. Pancras had referred to it and had called attention to the fact that certain Russian newspapers had shown that it was evidence of a strong desire on the part of the Tibetan people to enter into friendly and intimate relations with Russia. But the Russian Government, in reply to Lord Lansdowne, had characterised as ridiculous the conclusions drawn by the Russian Press that this mission had had any diplomatic character. At page 116 of the Blue-book a despatch from Sir C. Scott said—With reference to my despatch of the 1st instance I have the honour to transmit herewith in translation further extracts from the Russian 116 Press referring to the arrival in Russia of a so-called Tibetan mission. Count Lamsdorff in the course of conversation with me yesterday characterised as ridiculous and utterly unfounded the conclusion drawn in certain organs of the Russian Press that these Tibetan visitors were charged with any diplomatic or political mission.The mission was similar in character to that which was sent out by the Pope to the faithful in foreign countries. Count Lamsdorff's statements had been accepted by our Foreign Office as sufficient, and it was going a little too far ahead when explicit declarations had been accepted by the Government that the Russians wanted nothing in Tibet, to tell the House that if another Power were to establish itself in that country it would be a serious thing for India. Lord Curzon justified the action of his Government; he summed up the view of the Indian Government in these words—In our view any country, or Government' or Empire has a right to protect its own interests, and if those interests are seriously imperilled, as we hold ours to be in Tibet, by the absolute breakdown of the treaty arrangements hitherto made through the medium of China, by the obstructive inertia of the Tibetans themselves, and still more by arrangements freshly concluded with another great Power to our detriment, we hold that the first law of national existence, which is self-preservation compels us to take such steps as will avert these dangers and place our security upon an assured and impregnable footing.Yet in spite of the high-flown rhetoric it was admitted that no Russian agent or Russian treaty existed at Lhassa, and in the very despatch in which this statement occurred the Indian Government used the following words in regard to the distance of Tibet from the Russian frontier—It is unnecessary for us to remind your Lordship that the Russian border nowhere even touches that of Tibet, and that the nearest point of Russian tendon, is considerably more than a thousand miles short of the Tibetan capital, which is situated in the extreme South, and in close proximity to the northern frontier of the Indian Empire.If Russia was at such a distance and had no agent in or treaty with, Tibet, where was the danger? It seemed to be a very long way off -certainly too far off to justify rushing into war for the purpose of putting a British agent in Tibet to watch Russia, who as far as we knew were doing very little in that country. 117 All the House could do, on the present occasion, was to press for further information as to the intentions of the Government. What were the Government going to ask for now? Possibly that the boundary stones should be re-erected, or that the wall which had been built in Yatung should be broken down. But that was not much for so large an expenditure of money and life. Was it the intention of the Government to ask for a British agent to be permanently established at Lhasa? If so, that was a very disputable proposition. Such an agent, separated from India by a great tract of country, which at certain seasons of the year was very difficult to pass, would be placed in an extremely awkward position. Was he to be left absolutely alone amid this strange people, or was a military force to be left there to guard him? In either case this country would be in a difficult position in regard to its future relations with Tibet, and it seemed to him that the House ought to have a very explicit account of what the Government expected to get out of what he could not help regarding as a somewhat ignoble little raid.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said that the debate dealt, first of all, with the question of whether or not the India Government Act of 1858 had beer broken. In his opinion it had been, and the revenues of India had been applied to what was now for the first time admitted to be a military operation beyond the frontiers of India. The expedition had never been anything else than a military operation; it was an armed entry into a friendly State without the consent and against the desire of that State. It was necessarily and inevitably a military occupation; according to the Blue-book it was clearly recognised as such, and resistance was not only expected, but was actually announced to have taken place as far back as October last. Therefore it was in its beginning, it had continued to be, and it still was, a military operation beyond the frontiers of India. This was not the first time the question of legality had been raised in regard to this subject. He was aware that it had been held by a legal authority—who was probably instructed by the person desiring 118 the opinion—that a subsequent consent of the Houses of Parliament was all that was required, but that, in his opinion, made nonsense of the Act of Parliament. He greatly regretted that the Government had not thought fit at an earlier period to ask for the consent required by the India Government Act of 1858, and that they should have awaited the action or massacre at Guru before applying for that sanction.
Another aspect of the matter, which was even more important, turned on the question of whether or not there was room in Asia for both Russia and England. He thought there was. Even in Persia, where the interests of the two Powers touched in the most exciting fashion, where questions which might lead to great divisions between them were constantly arising, and where, in fact, for the last fifty years a struggle had been going on between Russian and English influence, he believed it was possible to come to such an agreement as would enable both Powers not only to work in amity, but to assist each other. Persia was the most crucial case in which Russian and English interests clashed in Asia. Nevertheless, his firm conviction, based on a certain amount of knowledge, was that opportunities had again and again arisen of coming to an agreement with Russia in regard to Persia, but those opportunities had been neglected or thrown away by successive British Governments. If an agreement was possible in Persia, how much more possible was it in regard to Tibet! Tibet was not, like Persia, coterminous with both frontiers, being a thousand miles from the Russian boundary. It was, perhaps, the most inhospitable country on the face of the earth, and had no attractions either from the point of view of what it produced or on strategic grounds. As with Afghanistan, so with Tibet; the object of the Indian Government should be to keep out of the country. He admitted that it should be the object of the policy of the Government to keep Russia out of the country also, but in his belief there was not the slightest danger of Russia trying to cross the thousand miles which intervened between her frontier and Tibet for the purpose of occupying the latter country. 119 Therefore, with regard to Tibet he contended that it was far more possible than with regard to Persia to come to an agreement, if necessary, with Russia. He doubted, however, whether any agreement was really required. It was impossible to avoid mentioning Russia in the matter, as the whole Blue-book showed that a fear of Russia was at the bottom of the business. There was an embassy to Russia, but the envoy turned out to be a Russian subject who desired to make a religious collection. Then there was a pretended Russian secret treaty, which was now absolutely denied, and the suggested terms of which were such as Russia would be most unlikely to ratify.
Why did the Government hold themselves driven to this "forward" policy in Tibet? A great deal turned on the character of the Viceroy. He remembered Lord Curzon declaring from the Treasury Bench that if Russia advanced her troops to the waters of the Oxus, England would have to advance hers and meet Russia on that river He had been greatly relieved to find that his residence in India had to a large extent converted the noble Lord from his belief in the "forward" policy; in almost every respect he had shown that forbearance and discretion which were best calculated to serve the interests of the Empire. One of the greatest proofs that Lord Curzon was a statesman lay in the fact that he was able to learn on the spot and to follow a policy which he was not prepared to adopt before going to the country. Notwithstanding the description given by the noble Lord the Member for Ealing of the manner in which Russian Ministers conducted their departments, he believed the only thing they had at heart was the progress of Russia in the East, and it did not seem reasonable to suppose that on either strategic or political grounds they would make any particular sacrifices to advance Russian interests in the East by occupying Tibet or by taking more than the smallest part in its affairs. A further important consideration was the fact that the man who controlled Tibet controlled the head of the Buddhist religion. The country that commanded the Dalai Lama, the re-incarnation of Buddha, must 120 necessarily command great allegiance from the countless millions of Buddhists who swarmed in China and other parts of Asia, and that, he shrewdly suspected, was at the bottom of the desire to exercise influence in Tibet which was entertained to some extent by Russia, and very strongly by the present Viceroy of India.
The Blue-book was extremely instructive, and it showed that from the first Lord Curzon was anxious to advance to Tibet and make an invasion of that country. The noble Lord the Member for Middlesex constantly resisted that policy, and he was surprised that the Leader of the Opposition did not quote the reply of the noble Lord, who set forth strong objections to any such expedition and gave the grounds on which he entertained those objections. He would pass over the intervening stages and come to the last stage. The hon. Member opposite had asked what the objects of this expedition were? In Lord Curzon's words they were—At the same time the most emphatic as surances might be given to the Chinese and Tibetan Governments that the Mission was of an exclusively commercial character, that we repudiated all designs of a political nature upon Tibet, that we had no desire either to declare a protectorate or permanently to occupy any portion of the country, but that our intentions were confined to removing the embargo that at present rests upon all trade between Tibet and India, and to establishing those amicable relations and means of communication that ought to subsist between adjacent and friendly Powers.It was in that despatch that he advocated that the object of the Mission should be—The appointment of a permanent British representative, Consular or diplomatic, to reside at Lhasa.That was in January, 1903, but both the late Secretary for India and his right hon. friend the present Secretary for India had come to the conclusion that this Mission should be restricted in its operation in the manner which had been described in Lord Curzon's words. He believed that restriction to be most wholesome and necessary if it could be carried out, but it would be most difficult to carry it out after what had occurred. The official determination of His Majesty's Government as telegraphed by the 121 present Secretary of State for India on the 6th November, 1903, was that—The advance should be made for the sole purpose of obtaining satisfaction, and as soon as reparation is obtained a withdrawal should be effected.Nothing was said as to security for the future. The same telegram proceeded—While His Majesty's Government consider the proposed action to be necessary, they are not prepared to establish a permanent Mission in Tibet.Lord Curzon's desire had been agreed to on the condition that the Mission was to be confined to removing the embargo that at present rested upon trade between Tibet and India and to establishing amicable relations between His Majesty's Government and adjacent and friendly Powers. It had been laid down that there was to be no annexation, no declaration of a protectorate and no permanent occupation of any portion of the country. If the Government could give the House the assurances suggested by the noble Lord that, having obtained satisfaction and secured the removal of the embargo on trade, they were then prepared to withdraw the Mission without annexing territory, without declaring a protectorate, and without insisting on the establishment of a permanent Mission at Lhasa, he thought it would be the duty of the House to pass the Resolution. But it seemed to him almost impossible for the Government to give such an undertaking after what had occurred. Let the House consider the situation. There had already been a very serious engagement between the Indian troops and the Tibetans, attended with a very great and unfortunate slaughter of the latter. Under these circumstances he wished to know what extra security they would have in carrying out the policy which had been laid down, beyond what they I had at the present time, for the observance of the new treaty? It seemed to him that they would have no extra security. His fear was that, having entered upon this undertaking and having sent this armed Mission, which had met with resistance, and which had repelled that resistance with considerable slaughter, the Government would be absolutely driven to the establishment of a permanent Mission at Lhasa and they 122 would have to annex a portion of Tibetan territory. That was the danger upon which His Majesty's Government might be able to give him some assurance. If the right hon. Gentleman would give the House such an assurance then it would be the duty of hon. Members to pass this Resolution.
§ * SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
There is one criticism which I should like to make with reference to the Blue-book, and that is the singular silence that has prevailed in the last two months with reference to any communication from the India Office to the Indian Government in India. My right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition, I think, yesterday put a Question to the Secretary of State as to whether a reasoned despatch has been sent out to India in reply to Lord Curzon's elaborate despatch of the 5th or 6th November, and I understood that the right hon. Gentleman conveyed the idea that no such reply had yet been made. That is a very long time, even in the India Office, for a despatch of that magnitude to lie without a reply from the Secretary of State himself; but I can readily understand that there are reasons for it. But what I do not understand is this: The House will find in the index to these Papers that the first communication from the present Secretary of State was dated 3rd December—merely an official communication as to the Chinese Minister being informed of what had transpired—and then down to 31st January there is a long succession of communications from the Viceroy to the Secretary of State, and not a single reply from the Secretary of State to the Viceroy. Some one once said that India was governed by the private correspondence that passed between the Secret try of State and the Viceroy, and I think there is some truth in that remark. But if I may expand it, I should say that India is governed also by the telegrams constantly passing between these two officials. Now, I cannot but think that these various important communications from Lord Curzon have not passed unnoticed by so diligent, so faithful, and so consistent a hard worker as the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and I wish he had let us know not only what Lord Curzon said, but also 123 what he himself said with reference to many of those questions.
But I want to say a word or two on the policy of the Government with reference to the future. I think there has been a full discussion this afternoon of the points relating to the history of the expedition to Tibet. I have nothing to add to the criticisms which have been passed on the causes and the policy which resulted in the present unfortunate state of affairs. I still think, notwithstanding the eloquent and just defence which the Secretary of State made for the. Viceroy, that this correspondence discloses the fact that there have been two currents of opinion on this question, and that there has been one current at Whitehall and another at Calcutta. And once or twice, I am bound to say—though no one has a higher opinion of Lord Curzon than I have, and no one would offer a more cordial tribute to the great services he has rendered to India during his Vice-royalty (but he has the temptation of all great men not to minimise his own power)—I am bound to say that he indicates a slight impatience in reference to what I suppose no Viceroy likes particularly well, viz., the constitutional position of the Viceroy of India, which is that he is subordinate to the Secretary of State in Council, and that is the only way in which the Parliamentary Government of India is maintained. The powers of the two officials are clearly laid down in the Act which transferred the Government of India from the East India Company to the Crown. The supremacy of Parliament overall Indian affairs through the Secretary of State is there laid down. It is to the House of Commons that the Secretary of State is responsible, and if we weaken that and allow quasi-independence to pervade the policy of a great pro-Consul we shall commit a great blunder. There is a distinct constitutional principle involved, and that is, that his discretion and his powers should all be under the control of Parliament.
I will not labour the differences which have been mentioned this afternoon with reference to what Lord Curzon desired and which, no doubt from the highest motives, he conceived to be the true policy which the Indian Government ought to pursue. 124 What we want to know is—What is the policy of the Government to be n the future? I am bound to say that the speech of the Secretary of State for India was not satisfactory from that point of view. He referred with some qualification to the important despatch of 6th November, 1903, which has been again and again called to the attention of the. House, and which we understand contained a statement of the principles on which the Government intend to act. I may say in passing that the principle that there would be no annexation, no interference with Tibet internally, no appointment of any Resident, and no protectorate, laid down in that telegram, was also next day repeated by Lord Lansdowne to our Ambassador in China. He was informed that as soon as reparation is obtained a withdrawal should be effected, the Mission having been undertaken for the sole purpose of obtaining satisfaction. That is a distinct utterance, and what we now want, if I may say so respectfully, is that the Prime Minister, without any qualification, and without any doubt, should lay down the line which he intends, so long as he remains in office, to follow with reference to the question of our position in Tibet. A good deal has been said in this debate about our relations with Russia. Now, I must confess that I am in entire accord with the noble Lord the Member for the Ealing Division of Middlesex on that point. I agree with the advice he gave when he was Secretary of State for India, and also with the advice given by that great statesman, whom we have recently lost, when he was Secretary of State for India. Lord Salisbury recommended his own followers to look at a large map. I think that in many of our foreign relations in connection with India it would be desirable to look at a large map. Asia is vast enough for Great Britain and Russia. Each can do a great deal of good work in Asia if they will pursue it peacefully among the people over whom they exercise influence.
I suppose there is not an Englishman throughout the world who is net delighted at the steps which have recently been taken to produce good relations between Great Britain and France. Is such a thing impossible with 125 reference to our relations to Russia? Of course there will be dfficulties. There have been difficulties not for twenty-five but for fifty years with reference to France, but it has been shown that it is possible for two great nations to settle difficult questions between them without waiting for them to be cleared up by some great war. I do not believe that Russia has any serious aggressive designs on India. I do not believe in the Russophobia which has been displayed in certain sections of the Press. If we would do to Russia as we would wish to be done by a great deal of this bad feeling, which is so mischievous, might be avoided, and some settlement with regard to Asiatic matters might be come to. There is no reason to fear any aggression from Russia as far as Tibet is concerned. We ought to clear our minds of that idea. But there is another point. The Resolution before the House is to authorise military measures to be taken for the protection of Englishmen who are now in Tibet by the orders of their own Government and in the service of their King. This country will not allow them to be deserted. Whatever view may be entertained with regard to the wisdom or unwisdom, the necessity or the futility, of the present political Mission, we are bound to see that those who have gone on that mission are rescued with all the power we can put forward. We now ask the Prime Minister to tell us whether he adheres to the despatch of 6th November. If that policy is adhered to we shall have done our best to avoid the dangers which have been pointed out. If the Government at home are firm in that policy, the Indian Government can carry it out without much difficulty, all danger of friction with other owers will be avoided, and those difficulties which have long perplexed the Indian Government with respect to Tibet will be materially diminished.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down dealt with the caution and the moderation which we should all expect from him, partly owing to his native character and partly owing to the high and responsible 126 office which he has filled, with the criticisms on the policy which the Governments of India and of this country have adopted in reference to this Mission. Indeed, I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has associated himself with any of the criticisms which have been passed by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House on the original inception of this Mission, and I think the right hon. Gentleman was right. Because if hon. Members will divert their minds for one instant from the legitimate desire to attack His Majesty's Government and will in imagination put themselves in the place of those who here and in India are responsible for the government of that great dependency, they will feel that no other course than that which was adopted was open. There was on the part of the Leader of the Opposition and of other Gentlmen, apparently, a disposition to minimise the causes which had produced this Mission in Tibet. They regard the pulling down of boundary pillars as a small matter, and the occupation of fragments of pasture land as a tiling that can be passed over, and they have demonstrated that nothing has occurred between Tibet and India which is worth the cost and risk involved in this Mission. That kind of political arithmetic is rotten from the beginning. You cannot by merely summing up the matter dealt with by diplomacy say that this or that course ought to be pursued. Is it suggested that we were indefinitely to allow the Tibetan Government and its subjects to violate the solemn treaties entered into by them? There is no chance of a Tibetan invasion of India. Nothing that they could do unassisted is going to imperil our rule in India; and, therefore, I presume, hon. Gentlemen suppose that no cause of offence that ever could be given by the Tibetan Government to the Indian Government could be more that that the letters written by the Indian Government to the Tibetan Government should be returned unanswered. You cannot conduct the affairs of contiguous States in that manner; and if the Indian Government, who, after all, depend absolutely on the opinion held of them by their own subjects, are to allow themselves to be openly flouted in this way by a neighbouring State, it is inevitable that sooner or later the view 127 now rightly entertained of the Government in such places as Sikkim and Nepal will suffer decay. We shall be thought to be a people incapable of maintaining our obvious and admitted rights, and not only Orientals, but all men turn to those whom they think will maintain the rights which it is their duty to safeguard.
Therefore we could not allow the thing to remain as it was, and if we could not, how was it to be remedied? Does anyone assert that we have rushed hastily into action in this matter? Are fourteen years of fruitless negotiations so small a thing that we are to be considered as rash invaders of other people's territories because we at last lose patience? I do not think that will be contended. If negotiations were to solve the difficulty could they have been conducted more patiently or in a more conciliatory spirit, or in any better fashion than that in which we have conducted them? My hon. friend asked what would be said here if the French sent an armed diplomatic mission to discuss affairs between the two countries. My hon. friend was perfectly relevant in making that metaphor, but it did not contain the first element of a good metaphor, it did not illustrate any question with which we are here concerned. The case is that unless the Mission were sent into Tibetan territory no negotiations were possible at all. Tibetan methods, unlike Western methods, put an impenetrable wall between those responsible for the Tibetan Government and the Indian Government. Unless you traverse that wall negotiations become impossible. If contemporaneously with (he impossibility of negotiation, you absolutely shut off Tibet from all relations with India, I do not know personally that I should greatly regret it. Rut the moment the Tibetans traverse our frontiers, occupy our pastures, and imprison our citizens on the one side and are impenetrable even to remonstrances on the other—that is a condition of things which I do not think should be allowed to subsist. The Mission had to be sent into Tibetan territory, and was it to be accompanied or unaccompanied by a force to ensure its safety? The Member for the Elland Division, who spoke of this as a military expedition, shut his eyes to the facts of 128 the case. The Mission had to be sent for purely diplomatic reasons; it had to be defended and accompanied by an armed force, because that diplomatic object could not be successfully attempted in safety unless those you Bent were protected from the attacks of natives. Therefore it had to be armed. It is quite true that the possibility of opposition to that Mission was anticipated by the Indian Government; but the fact that that opposition was thought of as possible is no reason for regarding this as a military expedition; and the fact that opposition has unhappily occurred, though it requires this House to pass the Resolution before it, does not alter either the objects with which this Mission was originally sent, or the methods by which we mean to carry them out.
A great deal has been said about the relative positions of Russia and England in Asia. That is a very large, complicated, and delicate question; and it is not, therefore, a question which I think I should be doing any public service by discussing either briefly or at any length on the present occasion. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton seems to think that it is a matter of comparative ease for the two countries to come to some arrangement as regards Asia, which should for ever prevent serious disputes or serious collisions between them in Asia—some such arrangement as we have come to with France, and which I hope, and firmly believe, will for ever prevent collisions between these two countries in connection with any region dealt with in the great instruments which have just been signed by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries. Sir, I am afraid that the right hon. Gentleman greatly underrates the peculiarity of the Central Asian position; the character, I will not say of the ambitions of the Russian Government, but of the ambitions of many of the officers who deal with the interests of Russia in the far outlying portions of her great dominions. He also, perhaps, underrates the relations in which we respectively are to the independent but relatively powerless States which still divide the two great European Powers.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
If the right hon. Gentleman means that it is an object in itself enormously desirable, if it can be attained, I agree absolutely with him. My ideas are that, from the nature of the case, it will not be so easily attained by any instrument, by any series of articles drawn up and signed by the Foreign Ministers of the two Powers, as he seems to suppose. At all events there are special difficulties in the way; and I frankly admit that I am not one of those who in the year 1904 think the Central Asian question can be so easily disposed of by a reference to the large maps as it was in the year 1874. Thirty years separates us from the date to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred; and if he considers the position of these two great countries in Central Asia as it was in 1874 and as it is in 1904, he will see that the problem, whether soluble or insoluble, is at all events a very different problem from what it was then. I do not know that I have done much good by referring to these international affairs in Asia. Central Asia is outside the much narrower issue with which we have to deal this afternoon. That issue is whether we shall or shall not, unanimously pass a Resolution which must be passed if our Mission in Tibet is to have that protection which every man in the House desires to give it. Now we are all agreed that the Mission is to be protected, but what the right hon. Gentleman fears is that there may be differences of opinion as to what are the ulterior objects of the Government. I can assure him that he need have no such fears. The telegram of 6th November, 1903, which does not stand alone in the Blue-book as representing the views of His Majesty's Government, but merely repeats, in very precise terms, the general policy of His Majesty's Government indicated throughout the whole—that telegram was most carefully considered by the Cabinet before it was sent. It represented a policy—not merely a departmental policy of the Secretary of State in Council, but it also represented the carefully thought out views of the Government. It represented those views on 6th November, 1903; it 130 represents those views in April, 1904. No change whatever has occurred; and I do not think that any change is likely to occur. We, of course, live in a world where absolute prophecy is impossible; and it would be folly for me to do more than state what are the desires, the wishes, and the intentions of the Government, on the facts as far as we know them. And these wishes, desires, and intentions are most explicitly stated; they have been stated more than once; and we do not see any reason to depart from them. My hon. friend who spoke last but one seems to think that circumstances will be too strong for us, and that we shall be driven on from one stage to another, until nothing short of permanent annexation is reached. Well, I contemplate no such unhappy contingency; and were it to occur I should consider it one of the greatest misfortunes that could possibly happen to the Indian Government or to this country. My noble friend the late Secretary of State for India said that oar position—I think he said everywhere—
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I should not have dissented from even the larger proposition of my noble friend—that our possessions in Asia, and the responsibilities which these possessions entail, are surely as great as any of us can desire. And that is absolutely the admitted fact. But it must be distinctly understood that if Tibet were, by any unhappy accident, to become the centre of intrigue and influence of any Power other than Tibet, our difficulties and our responsibilities would not be diminished, but greatly increased by leaving Tibet alone. I do not contemplate that position, and I am glad to think that there is no reason for believing in that contingency. I admit everything that has been said as to the impossibility of invading India by way of Tibet. I believe such a military project is intrinsically absurd, and that any Power which has the strength to invade India would find much easier routes for doing so than over the snow-clad "Roof of the World." But that does not alter the fact that though no army is 131 likely to penetrate our northern frontier from Tibet, it would be a serious misfortune to the Indian Government, and a danger to our northern frontier, should Tibet fall under any European influence other than our own. I should greatly deplore if it should fall under our influence. I do not want anything to do with the Tibetans in a political sense. Let the Tibetans manage their own affairs. Let them keep themselves to themselves. I desire nothing better. But if their wish to exclude foreign influence is to be used against us, but is not to be used against others, then it will be admitted by every hon. Gentleman in the House who has seriously considered this problem that a very different state of things presents itself than that with which we have to deal at the present time. As appears from the Blue-book, Russia, at the present time, has absolutely declared not merely that she does not mean to occupy Tibet in a military sense—of which I am not seriously afraid—but that Tibet is outside her sphere of influence, and that she does not desire to have a Resident there, or to exercise power, or authority, or influence there. Sir, I accept absolutely that statement; and, that being so, I am nor able to imagine a contingency which would compel the Government to abandon that policy which has been so clearly expressed in the despatch of 6th November last. Our wish is to live at peace with Tibet; to leave Tibet independent: to have no responsibility as regards the internal affairs of Tibet; not to keep a Resident in Tibet, with the responsibility which inevitably attaches to keeping a Resident there. Though that be our view; though that is the view which we have consistently and constantly held, as the Blue-book shows, throughout the whole period in which this controversy has become acute; though we have never varied from
§ that, and do not vary from it now, that does not cast the smallest reflection, in my judgment, on the steps which the Indian Government have taken in order to see that our treaty engagements are not made the laughing stock of the Oriental world. That we cannot tolerate; that we do not propose to tolerate. While this Mission, we trust, will result, without further bloodshed, in putting the relations between India and its northern neighbour on a permanently satisfactory basis, while it will prove for all time to the Tibetan Government that they cannot treat us with the contempt with which they have treated us in the last thirty years, I do not believe it will add one iota, one grain of sand, to the already heavy responsibilities which weigh on the Indian Government. The House may absolutely rely upon it that the last thing which His Majesty's Government desire is to have an addition to our frontier responsibilities, stretching from Baluchistan to the Chinese and Burmese frontiers. We do not want to add any further responsibilities to the difficulties which are constantly weighing upon the statesmen who have in their charge the destinies of our Eastern Empire. Among those statesmen there is no name which I think will shine out in history with more lustre than that of the present Viceroy of India. Though there have not been what I may call attacks made upon him this afternoon, there have at all events been criticisms passed upon him; but I am confident that this House may rely without a moment's misgiving in his loyally and ably carrying out a policy which this House and His Majesty's Government are agreed is the proper policy to pursue in this long-standing and difficult question.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 270; Noes. 61. (Division List No. 76.)135
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjam'n|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Baird, John George Alexander||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Balcarres, Lord||Bignold, Arthur|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O.||Baldwin, Alfred||Bigwood, James|
|Arrol, Sir William||Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Bill, Charles|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds||Blundell, Colonel Henry|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir, H.||Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.)||Bond, Edward|
|Austin, Sir John||Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Boulnois, Edmund|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Barran, Rowland Hirst||Bousfield, William Robert|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Bowles, Lt. Col. H.F.(Middlesex)|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.)||Mitchell, William (Burnley)|
|Brigg, John||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)|
|Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Graham, Henry Robert||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Bull, William James||Grant, Corrie||Moss, Samuel|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Greene, Henry D.(Shrewsbury)||Mount, William Arthur|
|Caldwell, James||Gretton, John||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Glasgow||Groves, James Grimble||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Gunter, Sir Robert||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hall, Edward Marshall||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hambro, Charles Eric||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G.(Midd'x)||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Chapman, Edward||Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Partington, Oswald|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th)||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley|
|Coates, Edward Feetham||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Percy, Earl|
|Coddington, Sir William||Heath, A. Howard (Hanley)||Pilkington, Colonel Richard|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Heath, James (Staffords., N.W.)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Heaton, John Henniker||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Helme, Norval Watson||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Henderson. Sir A. (Stafford, W.)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Pym, C. Guy|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Hogg, Lindsay||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Hope, J.F. (Sheffield, Brightside)||Bandies, John S.|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Horner, Frederick William||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton||Houston, Robert Paterson||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Howard, J. (Midd.,Tottenham)||Renwick, George|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred.||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Denny, Colonel||Jessel Captain Herbert Merton||Robertson, Herbert Hackney|
|Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tower Hamlets||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Kearley, Hudson E.||Rose, Charles Day|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.(Salop.||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Kerr, John||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Doughty, George||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Knowles, Sir Lees||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Dunn, Sir William||Lawrence, Sir J. (Monmouth)||Seely, Maj. J.E.B. (Isle of Wight)|
|Edwards, Frank||Lawson, Jn. G. (Yorks., N.R.)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Elibank, Master of||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Emmott, Alfred||Lee. A. H. (Hants., Fareham)||Skewes-CON, Thomas|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Spear, John Ward|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Bristol, S.)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.)|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Stroyan, John|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Fison, Frederick William||Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ)|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon||Macdona, John Cumming||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Flower, Sir Ernest||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Forster, Henry William||Maconochie, A. W.||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Fyler, John Arthur||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Galloway, William Johnson||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire||Tuff, Charles|
|Garfit, William||Majendie, James A. H.||Tufnel, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Ure, Alexander|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn)||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Gordon, Maj. E. (T'r Hamlets)||Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H. E. (Wigt'n)||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.(Sheff'd)|
|Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Walker, Col. William Hall||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)||Wyndham-Quin. Major W. H.|
|Wallace, Robert||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)||Younger, William|
|Warde, Colonel C. E.||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E.R.(Bath)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|Webb, Colonel William George||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Welby, Lt.-Col. A.C.E. (Taunton)||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|White, Luke (York, E. R.)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Ffrench, Peter||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Field, William||O'Mara, James|
|Ambrose, Robert||Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Shee, James John|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Hammond, John||Reddy, M.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Harrington, Timothy||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Blake, Edward||Hayden, John Patrick||Russell, T. W.|
|Roland, John||Joyce Michael||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Kilbride, Denis||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Sheehy, David|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Leamy, Edmund||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Burns, John||Lundon, W.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Tomkinson, James|
|Channing, Francis Allston||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Clancy, John Joseph||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Mooney, John J.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Crean, Eugene||Murphy, John||Whitley. J. H. (Halifax)|
|Cullinan, J.||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
|Delany, William||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)|
|Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway)||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Doogan, P. C.||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
Question put, and agreed to.