HL Deb 25 February 1875 vol 222 cc836-7

inquired of Her Majesty's Government, Whether the statements of the public press to the effect that commercial treaties with Servia and Roumania are about to be formed without any reference to the negotiations alleged by Her Majesty's Government to be in progress are well founded? He should consider such a state of things a departure from the Treaty of 1856; and he reserved to himself the right of considering with those Members of the House who turned their minds to foreign policy, what steps should be taken, either with or without Papers, to retard or prevent results which it would be a guarded phrase to characterize as useless and irreparable.


When my noble Friend put a Question to me a few days ago upon this subject, I told him that three great Powers—Austria, Russia, and Germany—had asserted their right to enter into commercial engagements with the Governments of the Principalities irrespective of the sanction of the Porte, and I added that in doing so they had protested strongly against the idea of any intention being imputed to them of violating the treaties into which they had entered. Maintaining, as they do, that the right they so claimed is a right conferred on them by those treaties, I think it quite possible, and under the circumstances probable, that these Governments, or some of them, may proceed to act upon the principle which they have laid down. It is clear that they could only have laid it down with the intention of acting upon it sooner or later; but they have not done so as yet, so far as I am aware. I have every reason to believe that communications have taken place between these Governments and the Government of the Principalities upon the subject; but I have not before me at the present time any information to justify me in saying that commercial treaties will be concluded.

House adjourned at a quarter before Eight o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Ten o'clock.