HC Deb 11 July 1907 vol 178 cc45-6
Mr. LYNCH (Yorkshire W. R., Ripon)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in connection with the negotiations now proceeding with the Russian Government with a view to harmonising the interests of the two Powers in Persia, he will appoint a small Committee of experts thoroughly acquainted with Persia and the contiguous regions to confer together and to advise him in the preparation of the British case.


I assume that the hon. Member means a Committee of non-official experts not connected with the British or Indian Governments. I do not consider that such a course, which is capable of indefinite extension, is desirable, though the hon. Member can always on his own initiative put forward either information or opinions for consideration.


In view of the great importance of this subject will the right hon. Gentleman reassure the House and the country by stating it is not proposed to include in the Russian commercial sphere of influence the old established British trade route from Baghdad to Kermanshah?


That does not arise out of the Question on the Paper.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that in the recent protracted Customs negotiations with Turkey, when his Majesty's Government were pressing for Custom facilities at the principal ports, the port of Baghdad, dealing with a British and Indian trade of over £1, 000, 000 a year, and the seat of a British Consulate-General, was entirely omitted from the negotiations by an oversight, and only included at the last moment as the result of unofficial prompting.


My recollection is that the arrangement with regard to Customs applied to all Ports. I have no recollection that the Port of Baghdad escaped notice.