HL Deb 02 March 1885 vol 294 cc1743-5

said, he rose to ask Her Majesty's Government, Whether authentic intelligence has reached them of a Treaty having been formed between France and Burmah, in consequence of which considerable concessions of territory will be made to the former Power? and to move for Papers. Ho reminded their Lordships that there was a very important trade formerly carried on and passed through Upper Burmah by the mouths of the river Irrawaddy and the other rivers of the British Possessions. In consequence, however, of the disturbances which had taken place, this trade had much decreased of late years, and at the present moment had almost disappeared. The absence of this trade had greatly affected the prosperity of the British Provinces, inhabited by a most hardy body of men, possessing great physical power, and capable of making excellent soldiers. About nine years ago, in consequence of the conduct of the present King of Burmah, we were forced to declare war against him, and since that time he had been guilty of farther atrocities, which had rendered it impossible for us to resume political relations with him. His misgovernment had also given rise to intervention by other Powers, and at the present moment large bodies of Chinese were occupying the frontier town of Bhamo, which was situated on the Irrawaddy. If the present misgovernment of Burmah were to continue, it might be possible that France would consider it necessary to occupy a portion of the Burmese territory. Our relations with Burmah had been for many years past of a friendly character, and the natural protector of the peaceful population of that country was Great Britain, and not France. It was necessary for the prestige of India that we should exercise our influence over Burmah.


Authentic information has reached Her Majesty's Government of the signature of a Convention between France and Burmah supplementary to one concluded in 1873, but up to this time not put in force. The recent Convention appears to be of a purely commercial character. Reports have reached Her Majesty's Government to the effect that concessions of territory have been made by Burmah to France; but they are entirely inconsistent with positive assurances which have been given by the French Government to Her Majesty's Ambassadors at Paris, and are therefore not credited by Her Majesty's Government. A Copy of the Convention will be laid on the Table as soon as its ratification shall have been reported.


asked if there was any intention to resume diplomatic relations with Burmah?


asked for Notice of the Question.