HL Deb 08 March 1878 vol 238 cc949-50

I beg to ask my noble Friend the Secretary for Foreign Affairs a Question of which I have given him private Notice. It is, Whether the noble Earl is in a position to give your Lordships any information as to when a Copy of the Treaty of Peace between Russia and Turkey is likely to be laid on the Table?


My Lords, I told my noble Friend, when he gave me private Notice of his Question, that I had no objection to his putting the Question; but I added—what I now repeat—that I am afraid I am not in a position to give him any information on the subject.


My Lords, I also wish to ask the noble Earl a Question of which I have given him private Notice—though I am not sure that he will be able to give any satisfactory answer to it. It is, Whether he can give the House any information as regards the place of meeting of the proposed Conference?


My Lords, when last I answered a Question in this House on the subject of the proposed Congress—or Conference, as it was then entitled—I stated there was an agreement among the Powers concerned that the meeting should be held at Baden. Since then communications have passed between some of the Powers, and the result of those communications has been that the place of meeting has been changed from Baden to Berlin. Her Majesty's Government have offered no objection to the change, and, as far as we are concerned, it can make no difference; but I am not able to state with any certainty at what time the meeting will take place. There is another very important question—namely, what, if any, shall be the bases on which the Congress or Conference shall meet? On that subject we are in communication with the other Powers—especially with Austria — the Austrian Government being the Government which initiated the matter. In a despatch, which has been already laid on the Table of your Lordships' House, we have stated that we are not prepared to recognize as valid any changes which may have been made in the arrangements of preceding European Treaties until those changes have received the consent of the Powers who were parties to those Treaties; and we have further stated our opinion that it would be desirable that not merely a part, but the whole of the Treaty arrangements concluded between Russia and Turkey should be submitted to the Congress.