HL Deb 14 August 1860 vol 160 cc1243-5

My Lords, I now pass to the other Question which I wash to put, which relates to the affairs of Greece. Tour Lordships are probably aware that there have been questions for some time past between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Greece, arising out of the loan which the three protecting Powers made to that country some years ago, and the arrears of interest, which have greatly accumulated. If I remember right a Mixed Commission was appointed some few years since, and I understand that within the last few months the result of that Commission has been sent to Her Majesty's Government in the form of a Report, which was previously communicated to the Greek Government. Considering the interest which has always attached to the Greek kingdom as being the creation of the protecting Powers, it is impossible not to feel a lively concern in the affairs of a nation so remarkable from its character, its antecedents, and the activity with which its commerce is carried on. It seems to me very desirable that the Report of that Commission should be laid before this House, with the view of being-made known to the public at large. It would, therefore, give me great satisfaction to learn that Her Majesty's Government will direct these papers to be presented to us in the course of the present Session, or, if that cannot be done, that they will, at least, be placed in our hands at the next meeting of Parliament. I cannot refrain from taking this opportunity of saying that I have some knowledge of the manner in which the Minister who has been principally intrusted with the management of this affair has discharged his duties, and that it has afforded me the greatest satisfaction to find that a gentleman of his high character and accomplish- ments, who was well known in former times as a Member of the House of Commons (Sir Thomas Wise), should have been chiefly instrumental in bringing this matter to a conclusion. It would give me additional gratification to hear that his labours have received the approbation of Her Majesty's Government, and that his exertions will be so followed up as to produce that improvement in Greece, and that stimulus to its further progress, which we must all desire to witness. I beg, therefore, to ask my noble Friend, Whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to communicate to the Houses of Parliament during this Session, the Report, with its annexed papers, of the Mixed Commission appointed to inquire into the state of the Greek finances with reference to the loan and arrears of interest for which the Hellenic Government is answerable to England, France, and Russia?


The Report of the Commission on the financial affairs of Greece has already been presented to the other House of Parliament; and there can be no objection to laying it also on your Lordships' table. The annexed papers are, however, very voluminous; and it was not thought advisable to produce them also; but, of course, there will be no objection to lay them before your Lordships, if desired. The Report is a really important and interesting document. I cannot avoid taking this opportunity of observing that my noble Friend has paid a very just tribute to the exertions of Sir Thomas Wise, who, I am happy to state, was most cordially and ably supported by the co-operation of his Russian and French colleagues. This Commission for examining into the finances of Greece was entered into by the three Powers, with a degree of good feeling and earnestness of purpose which reflected the highest credit on them all; and I am quite sure that if the Greek Government only carries out the reforms which they have recommended, it will confer lasting benefits on its country. It was suggested that a certain sum—£36,000—should be paid by Greece, year by year, towards the extinction of the loan; and I think that, as a proof of the solvent condition of the Government of that country, it is very desirable that such a course should be pursued. But what the Commissioners had most at heart was, that the Greek Government should execute the reforms they have recommended after the most careful investigation of the whole financial position of Greece. If those recommendations arc honestly and sincerely followed out, I repeat my confidence that Greece may look forward to a degree of prosperity which has never yet been witnessed since she was created an independent State.


was very glad to hear the animated tone of his noble Friend in respect to internal reforms in the kingdom of Greece. He would rejoice to see reforms pressed with the same spirit upon the Turkish Government.