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United States—The "Alabama" Claims—Question

Volume 203: debated on Tuesday 26 July 1870

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said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, If it is true, as publicly stated, that overtures recently made by the Government of the United States for a resumption of negotiations regarding the Alabama Claims were declined by the late Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; and to inquire when further Papers on the subject, in continuation of those presented by Command of Her Majesty in February last, will be laid upon the Table?

, in reply, said, that as regarded the first branch of the Question, he was not aware that statements had been made of the nature to which his hon. Friend referred, though from the Question of his hon. Friend he presumed they must have been so. But, however that might be, the statement was incorrect. Possibly it might have arisen from this circumstance that Lord Clarendon gave an opinion—in which the Government of the United States, through Mr. Secretary Fish, concurred—that there was no advantage in continuing a controversial correspondence in this case. There was no difference of opinion between the two Governments on that point. The position of the question remained as it was before—the same as it was when the correspondence was last laid before Parliament—namely, that as we had made an offer, and that offer had been declined under the circumstances of which the House was aware some 18 mouths ago, it now rested with the Government of the United States to make a proposition for the resumption of the negotiations. With regard to the second branch of the Question, he might say that there was no intention on the part of Government to lay any Papers on the Table. There were, in fact, no Papers of the character which were usually laid before that House. But if the United States were to forward any Papers they would be submitted to Parliament.