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Volume 65: debated on Monday 20 July 1914

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will refer the question of the proposed railway across-Persia to the Government of India for their opinion as to whether a change of gauge, made at the Southern boundary of the Russian sphere in Persia, would better fulfil strategic requirements and at the same time offer greater commercial advantages to Indian trade than are offered by the proposed railway on the Russian gauge right through from the North to the boundary of the British sphere at or near Bundar Abbas on the Persian Gulf in the South?

The point as to break of gauge was originally considered with the Government of India, and the decision come to was in accordance with their views. The whole question of the railway continues, as a matter of course, to be considered in consultation with the Government of India in all its bearings.

How long ago is it since the Government of India gave their views regarding the proposed break of gauge on the boundary of the British sphere, and is it not possible that they might like to reconsider it?

I cannot charge my memory with the exact date, but presumably, as they were quite definitely consulted, if they had changed their opinion they would have let us know.

May I ask if the House will be placed in possession of the views of the Government of India, or is there any way of finding them?

I will consult with my right hon. Friend as to that, but presumably the communications between His Majesty's Government and the Government of India on this as on other matters are confidential.