HL Deb 07 June 1880 vol 252 cc1320-1

My Lords, I have a Question to ask which has some slight reference to the last. It is with respect to the liability of the Porte to the British Government for the dividends of the Guaranteed Turkish Loan. Your Lordships are well acquainted with the facts of that guarantee. The loan was made in 1855, and in February, 1878 the Turkish Government ceased to pay the dividends upon that loan. The consequence was, the parties who had made the loan claimed the amount of the dividends from the English and French Governments, and, I believe, have received payment from those Governments. I do not know what has occurred since that date, and therefore I must ask my noble Friend to inform me whether, supposing the Turkish Government does not intend to pay the interest upon the loan, the British Government will be entitled to take the amount from the revenues of Cyprus and to pay it over? It would be a very strange thing if, on the one hand, the Cypriote taxpayer is to be taxed for the benefit of the Porte, and, upon the other hand, when payments are required to be made by the Porte, the amount of expenditure should fall upon the British taxpayers. I, therefore, beg to ask, Whether the Porte has repaid to the British Government the amounts owing to the British Government on account of the default of the Porte to pay the dividends due in February, 1878 and 1879, on the Turkish Guaranteed Loan of 1855; if not, what amount is owing at the present time by the Porte on this account; and whether the British Government is entitled to deduct the amount from the surplus revenues of Cyprus to be paid to the Porte under the Anglo-Turkish Convention?


said, that he would ask the noble Earl who had just sat down, whether, if his superior landlord refused to pay him money which he considered that he owed to him, he would be entitled to deduct the amount from his ground rent? A similar case had arisen in the Malay Straits, where the Government of the Straits Settlement had stopped the payment of the rent of Rule Pinang due to the Raja of Keddah; but the Duke of Buckingham, when Secretary of State for the Colonies, disallowed this proceeding. He (Lord Stanley of Aldeley) read the passage of this despatch from the Malay Blue Book of 1874, which stated that this proceeding of the Straits Government had been reluctantly assented to by the Indian Government.


My Lords, the amounts due on account of interest of the Guaranteed Loan of 1855 in 1878 and 1879 have been paid. There is, however, a balance of £61,000 odd still due on account of the dividend paid in February last. Any deficit of the kind is borne in equal shares by the English and French Governments. Her Majesty's Government have been in communication with the Porte on the subject, and they are not in a position to express any opinion at present as to the course which it may be expedient to take to insure the punctual payment by the Porte of the sums due in respect of the loan.