HL Deb 07 February 1911 vol 7 cc60-2

*LORD LAMINGTON rose to ask His Majesty's Government "whether they have been informed by the Russian Government of the matter of the discussion that has been taking place recently between the Russian and German Governments in reference to railway development in Asiatic Turkey and Persia; if so, whether (1) they can state the nature of the discussion; (2) what is the attitude of Russia in respect to this question; and (3) whether our interests in Mesopotamia and Persia are in any way affected."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the Question that stands in my name deals with a matter that has excited great interest, discussion, and diversity of opinion in Paris, Berlin, and St. Petersburg, and as we are as deeply concerned as the countries of which those cities are the capitals I think I may be excused in asking His Majesty's Government whether they can give the House any information on this rather important subject.


My noble friend might well have called this not only a rather important but a very important subject. Its importance is partly a reason why my answer must he brief, and, I am afraid, rather disappointing. It is this: Discussions on this subject between Germany and Russia are still proceeding and I am in no position to make any statement as to negotiations of a confidential character between two foreign Governments. That, I think, is pretty obvious. As regards the British interests involved, which are not denied, it is impossible to say whether, or to what extent, they may be affected until the negotiations result in agreement. In the meantime I can only assure my noble friend that those interests are being very carefully watched, and the Russian Government are being kept fully informed of our views.


Do I understand from the noble. Viscount that His Majesty's Government are being kept fully informed by the Russian Government of the result of these communications between the Russian and the German Governments? That is the gist of the question.


I cannot add anything to what I have said. I am sure the noble Marquess opposite will understand that very complicated issues may arise, and the negotiations not being completed it would be most undesirable for me to make any statement of that precise kind.

House adjourned at twenty-five minutes before Six o'clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten o'clock.