§ EARL SPENCER
My Lords, seeing the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in his place, I should like to ask him whether there is any truth in the rumour that has appeared in the newspapers this morning—namely, that we have given Wei-hai-Wei to the Japanese as a base for their naval operations. As this is a matter of some importance, perhaps the noble Marquess can see his way to make a statement upon it to-night.
§ * THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (The Marquess of LANSDOWNE)
My Lords, my attention was directed to the rumour to which the noble Earl has referred. I need not say that the assertion is entirely without foundation, and that it is, in our belief, a mischievous fabrication. We have, however, thought it desirable to telegraph to our representatives on the spot, with the object of ascertaining whether any incident has taken place to give the slightest colour for the report.