HL Deb 11 June 1874 vol 219 cc1400-1

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, What subjects were to be considered at the Congress announced as about to meet at Brussels, and whether a British Representative was to attend at the Congress?


A few weeks ago Her Majesty's Government received an intimation that the Russian Government intended to propose an International Conference to be held at Brussels for the purpose of considering and discussing the laws and usages of war as carried on by armies in the field; with a view, as I presume, to introduce something like a more uniform system in such matters. Among the subjects proposed to be treated were mentioned the exercise of military authority in an enemy's country, the distinction to be drawn between combatants and non-combatants, the treatment of prisoners of war, the lawfulness of reprisals, and various other matters of similar character. We have not, as yet, sent any reply as to taking part in that Conference. We have placed ourselves in communication with other Governments with a view to ascertain their intentions on the subject, and when we hear their intentions we shall be able to say whether we shall take part in the Conference or not.