HC Deb 18 July 1904 vol 138 cc268-9
GENERAL LAURIE (Pembroke and Haverfordwest)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the fact that a Russian warship, the "St- Petersburg," has overhauled and searched British vessels in or near the Red Sea; and, if so, can he state whether this is the same vessel, also named the "St. Petersburg," that recently passed through the Bosphorus under the Russian commercial flag; and, if so, whether it is in conformity with international law that the same vessel can at one time fly the commercial flag and at another time assert the authority of a warship; and whether this transformation cm take place on the high seas, or whether it is obligatory that a vessel holding a commission as a warship should be commissioned as such in a port of the nation to which she belongs.


The subject to which the hon. Member draws attention is one of the utmost importance and is engaging the earnest attention of His Majesty's Government. As. however, our information is still incomplete on certain points I should be obliged to him if he would postpone the Question.