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Turkey—Ministerial Statement

Volume 229: debated on Thursday 1 June 1876

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I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury whether, before the House rises for the Whitsuntide Recess, it would not be convenient for the public service that he should give us some information as to the present state of affairs in Turkey?

Sir, I have nomaterial information to give as to the present state of affairs in Turkey, beyond that which was communicated to the House on Tuesday by the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. I have, however, received a telegram from Constantinople since I came into the House, but it contains nothing interesting except this—that everything is tranquil there, and apparently the population is quite content. The Note described generally, I believe, as the Berlin Memorandum, has not yet been brought before the consideration of the Porte; and I should express a hope that it may not be necessary that it ever should be so brought. There is no doubt that the state of affairs is critical in that quarter; it would be affectation to deny it. Her Majesty's Government have taken such measures of precaution as they thought were necessary to maintain the honour and the interests of this country; and that policy of precaution they intend to pursue. At the same time, I wish most decidedly to state, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, that it is their opinion that the interests of the country will be most studied by maintaining peace, and that the honour of England can never be more efficiently vindicated than by taking a leading part in contributing to the accomplishment of that object.