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Volume 203: debated on Thursday 14 July 1870

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Sir, I am at all times unwilling to press Government unnecessarily for information with respect to our foreign relations; but, in the present critical state of affairs, I feel bound to ask the right hon. Gentleman opposite, Whether it is in his power to make any communication to the House respecting the misunderstanding which appears unhappily to exist between two of Her Majesty's principal allies?

Sir, I regret I have to say that I must ask the right hon. Gentleman and the House to be satisfied with a very brief statement on the present occasion. We have, Sir, no specific intelligence to convey to Parliament of a nature to satisfy the natural and universal desire of the country to hear that all differences in connection with the candidateship of Prince Leopold for the Throne of Spain are completely at an end. However, I can state that the communications between France and Prussia on that subject have not been brought actually to a close, and I need scarcely add we shall continue to do all that depends upon us for the removal of difficulties and the continuance of peace.

Sir, I am sure my right hon. Friend will be glad of the opportunity to state—and the House will listen with interest and anxiety to his statement with reference to what is reported to have fallen from the Minister of Foreign Affairs in France, and was repeated yesterday in the Constitutionnel—that the Government of France in the course they were pursuing had the sympathy and moral support of every Government in Europe. I am sure my right hon. Friend will be glad of the opportunity of stating whether, as regards the Cabinet of Great Britain, that statement is correct?

Sir, I can only say, in reply to the very natural Question of my right hon. Friend, that I do not think it would be for the public interest that I should enter into details on the particular subject to which he has referred; but this I may say, that Lord Granville has addressed a communication to Paris on the subject of that declaration to which my right hon. Friend refers.