HL Deb 21 February 1831 vol 2 cc729-30
Earl Grey

said, that seeing a noble Earl (Aberdeen) in his place, who had put a question to him a few evenings ago, he begged leave to say a few words, in order to afford that information which at the moment he had been unable to give. The noble Earl had asked him, if any negotiation was pending, by which the limits of the new State of Greece were to be extended? When the question was asked, he (Earl Grey) had in his mind that some communications had passed on the subject; but he thought it would be highly improper, with that imperfect recollection, to give a decided answer. However, he had since made inquiries, and he could now inform the noble Earl, that communications had been made, but they had not led to any thing which might be considered a negotiation. Whether they might lead to it hereafter, or not, was a matter he could not anticipate; but certainly there was nothing that could be called negotiation going on at present. With regard to what the noble Earl had stated, as to the terms already made, he could only say that he considered them to be valid and binding, but not immutable, as the noble Earl conceived them. They were like all other things of the same nature, subject to such alterations as might be thought necessary for the mutual advantage of both parties, and which the parties concerned desired and consented to. He had also to add, that if an extension of the territory of the new State could take place, with the cordial acquiescence of all those who were interested in the subject, it would, in his opinion, add to the security of Greece, and confirm the general tranquility of other States. He had only to repeat, that nothing should be done except on the principle which he had stated—of perfect good faith, and for the advantage, and with the consent, of the parties mainly interested.

The Earl of Aberdeen

expressed satisfaction at the answer of the noble Earl; but he entreated the noble Earl, before any communications were followed up by what might truly be called a negotiation, to examine the real nature of the engagement, which, in calling immutable, he only meant to say was as binding as it was possible for an engagement to be. He therefore hoped that the noble Earl, before opening a new engagement, would well weigh the extreme difficulty and mischief which he was certain must be produced before the negotiation could be brought to a termination.