HC Deb 25 February 1904 vol 130 c981

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies has he instructed the Colonial authorities at Colombo to detain in Ceylon the 325 Russian sailors rescued from the naval action at Chemulpo; and, if so, will he state by virtue of what authority His Majesty's Government propose to detain these men; will they be treated in the same way as prisoners of war, and how will their detention be enforced.


The sailors in question took refuge on board a British man-of-war at Chemulpo. In these circumstances, should no other arrangement be arrived at by mutual consent between the combatants, His Majesty's Government believe that they would best fulfil the obligations of a neutral Power by interning these men in British territory until the conclusion of the war. The Japanese Government have, however, intimated that they are willing that the men should be allowed to return to Russia on their giving their parole that they will take no further part in the war. His Majesty's Government are in correspondence with the Russian Government as to the possibility of disposing of the matter upon this basis.