HL Deb 15 May 1879 vol 246 cc380-1

My Lords, I wish to put a Question to the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Argyll) with respect to the inquiry he intends to make to-morrow into the results of the foreign policy of Her Majesty's Government in Europe and Asia. I do not know whether the noble Duke contemplates, in the discussion which he proposes raising, to refer to the affairs of Afghanistan; but I must say that, in respect of those affairs, the lips of Her Majesty's Government are now sealed, and, indeed, we should consider any discussion on the matter as one which would be injurious to the public interest. The noble Duke, I am sure, will inform me what his purpose is in regard to that part of the subject of which he has given Notice. with respect to the latter branch of the noble Duke's subject—the result of the foreign policy of Her Majesty's Government in Europe and Asia—Her Majesty's Government will be quite prepared to enter fully into any discussion that may be raised.


My Lords, we are all aware, through "the ordinary channels of information"—which, I believe, is the Parliamentary expression for the newspapers—that Her Majesty's Government are now in the course of negotiation with the new Sovereign of Afghanistan in regard, I suppose, to the new Frontier, which is to be the scientific Frontier referred to by the noble Earl (the Earl of Beaconsfield) in his celebrated speech at the Guildhall, and also with reference to our future relations with Afghanistan. I at once recognize the fact that to enter into a discussion upon the subject of our future relations with Afghanistan might, probably, be inexpedient as regards the Public Service; and, indeed, it never was my intention to enter at all into the question of our future relations in that part of the East.