HL Deb 25 April 1839 vol 47 cc509-10
Lord Brougham

had been very much gratified on a former occasion at the answer which he had received from the noble Viscount at the head of her Majesty's Government, when he made an inquiry as to the course which Ministers meant to pursue with respect to any dispute that might arise between the Grand Seignor and Mehemet Ali, the Pasha of Egypt. He had been then informed that the strictest neutrality would be observed between the two parties. Now, it was highly desirable that this intention should be carried fully into effect, and that the rule thus laid down with respect to Egyptian affairs should be strictly adhered to, that rule being, that no encouragement or assistance should be given to either party, but that a decided neutrality should be kept up with respect to both. Circumstances had occurred, however, which, to the untutored mind, as it was termed, of the Pasha, might appear to warrant the conclusion, or might lead him to suppose—that the British Government had a leaning more to one side than to the other. He alluded to five sail-of-the-line having been sent out to cruise in his neighbourhood, and also to the fact that a number of British officers had gone out to Turkey, and had enlisted in the service of the Grand Seignor. This certainly might be considered as looking something like a leaning more to one side than the other, as, in fact, a departure from strict neutrality, and he should be glad to have some explanation on the subject.

Viscount Melbourne

said, there was not the smallest alteration in the policy of her Majesty's Government with reference to this question. True it was, that some officers had gone out for the purpose of improving the Turkish navy, but, owing to some misunderstanding, they had not yet entered the Sultan's service, but remained unemployed at Constantinople. This country still continued completely neutral, and nothing whatsoever had been done in contradiction to the line of policy which he had declared on a former occasion. The policy of Government still remained precisely the same, and he was happy to say that they had received from all their allies the most distinct and explicit declarations that they meant to adhere to the same neutral course of policy, and that they would use all the means in their power to prevent hostilities taking place between these two parties. He thought it right to state, that her Majesty's representative at the Turkish Court had received the most distinct and positive instructions to use his best efforts, in conjunction with the representatives of other Powers, to preserve peace in that part of the world.

Lord Brougham

rejoiced that he had afforded the noble Viscount an opportunity to make so satisfactory a statement.

Subject dropped.