HL Deb 30 July 1840 vol 55 cc1113-5
Viscount Strangford

rose for the purpose of putting a question to the noble Viscount, at the head of her Majesty's Government, respecting a rumour which for some time past had been very prevalent, and which related to a subject of the very highest importance. The matter was so urgent and of such great moment, that he hoped the noble Viscount would not feel it to be inconsistent with his public duty to impart that degree of information which, if it did no more, would abate the anxiety of the public mind. He had no wish to lead the noble Viscount into any statement of details—he merely wished him to say whether or not there was any foundation for the rumour to which his intended question related. For some clays past the newspapers both in France and in this country, but more generally in France, had been filled with confident statements to the effect that formal diplomatic arrangements had been entered into between this country on the one hand, and certain great continental powers on the other, respecting a settlement of the differences between Turkey and Egypt, and that France was neither a signing nor a consenting party to that arrangement. He did not desire, that the noble Viscount should state any of the conditions of that arrangement, he merely sought for information with respect to its existence or non-existence. It was a subject upon which the public would gladly receive any information, as the result must materially affect the value of public securities.

Viscount Melbourne

said, it was perfectly true that negotiations had been entered into on the subject to which the noble Viscount referred between this country, Austria, Russia, Prussia, and the sublime Porte, with a view to the pacification of the Levant. It was also perfectly true that those negotiations had been considerably advanced, but he never regarded such matters as settled until they were ratified; therefore all he could now say, was, that such negotiations were going on.

Lord Brougham

said, that he was chiefly alarmed by that portion of the statements referred to which alleged that no communication had been made to France till after the completion of the treaty. That which he wished to know was whether all communication on the subject had been withholden from France?

Viscount Melbourne

replied, that communications had been made to France upon the subject, but that France was not a party to the treaty.

Subject dropped.