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The Virgin Islands—Question

Volume 203: debated on Thursday 14 July 1870

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said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, If he will lay upon the Table of the House Copies of all Correspondence or Papers relating to the Cession by this Country to Spain of Crab and Passage or Culebra Islands, in the Virgin Group of the West Indies, which took place about the year 1863; and, if he will state whether any, and if so what, consideration was received by this Country from Spain in exchange for those two Islands?

said, in reply, that for many years the Sovereignty of those two small islands was in dispute between this country and Spain. In 1863, after an elaborate inquiry into the respective titles of the two Governments, the title of Spain was recognized. The correspondence on the subject extended over many years, and he did not propose to print it; but as his hon. Friend represented private interests in the matter, he was at liberty to read over the Correspondence, and his course then would be to consult the Foreign Office, whether these private interests could be recognized by the Spanish Government. In answer to the second Question, he had to state that no consideration was received by this country for the transfer of these two islands.

said, he wished to know whether any communication has passed between the Colonial and the Foreign Office in reference to this matter?

said, he presumed that at the time the negotiation was in progress such a correspondence was carried on; and the result, as he had said, was the recognition of the title of Spain.