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Volume 47: debated on Friday 5 March 1897

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I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to a passage in a speech delivered on the 22nd ultimo by the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, in which he is reported to have said that M. Millerand thinks that France should have entered the Dardanelles and seized the Sultan in his Palace; that a proposal was made by one Power at the end of November 1895, but was set aside; whether that proposal, or a proposal to enter forcibly the Dardanelles, became known to Her Majesty's Government; and, if so, when; and whether Her Majesty's Government expressed any, and what, opinion upon it?


I have nothing to add to the answers which I have on two previous occasions given to the hon. Member on the same subject.

said those previous answers were susceptible of two or three interpretations, and they would like to know which they were to accept. Did the right hon. Gentleman mean that no such proposal came to the knowledge of the Government, or did he mean that he did not desire or refused to make any statement on the subject?


I do not think I ought to be called upon suddenly to explain—[Ministerial cheers]—the two previous answers of mine, the meaning of which was absolutely clear. I have said that I can add nothing to those answers, and to that, I am afraid, I must adhere. ["Hear, hear!"]

Then we shall be obliged to put another question to clear up the matter. [Ministerial cries of "Order!"]

said the first part of his question had not been answered at all. Did the right hon. Gentlemen evade it or decline to answer it. [Ministerial cries of "Order!"] If he refused to answer it, let him give reasons why he refused. [Opposition cheers.]


The right hon. Gentleman has said he does not propose to give any further answer. He is at liberty to refuse to give a further answer if he chooses to do so.


The hon. Member seems to be under the impression that he can compel an answer. He has no right to compel any further answer if the right hon. Gentleman does not propose to give it.