§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, referring to the Despatch of the Marquis of Salisbury, addressed to Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State from Berlin on 13th July 1878, which was presented to Parliament with the Treaty of Berlin, in order to set forth the principal alterations made at Berlin in the Treaty of San Stefano, and particularly to the following passages:—The first and most important objections made in the Circular of Her Majesty's Government of April 1st to the Treaty of San Stefano "were amongst others that "the first working of 568 the institutions of the new Slav State of Bulgaria were to be commenced under the control of a Russian Army. It will be seen that all these objections have been removed by the Treaty of Berlin.… The influences under which the institutions of Bulgaria were to have been framed, and commenced their working, will no longer be especially Russian.… the retirement of the Russian Army from the province must take place before the period of the working of the new institutions is to begin.… And the first working of its institutions will therefore not be commenced under the control of a Russian Army;and referring likewise to Article 7 of the Treaty of Berlin, which fixes the period at which the working of the new institutions is to begin, as one which "cannot be prolonged for more than nine months from the ratification of the Treaty;" whether he will state if, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government (the time fixed by this Article having elapsed and its conditions having been fulfilled), the declaration of Lord Salisbury has been made good—That the retirement of the Russian Army from the Province must take place before the period at which the working of the new institutions of Bulgaria is to begin, so that the first working of its institutions may not commence under the control of a Russian Army;and, if that is not so, whether such a departure from a capital term of the Treaty of Berlin has taken place with the concurrence of Her Majesty's Government?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Sir, the hon. and learned Gentleman's Question is certainly somewhat long; and I fear if I were to enter into the discussion which it seems to invite me to, my answer would be very much longer than is desirable, because it would be difficult for me to give a categorical answer to the Question without going into a much fuller discussion of what has taken place than would be convenient to the House or anyone else, I suppose, at the present moment. I endeavoured, as far as I could from the reading of the Question, to ascertain what was the point which the hon. and learned Gentleman particularly desired to ascertain; and in the still more extended form of the Question which stood on the Paper yesterday I thought I had discovered the point, because he referred to the suggestion that the Russian Army would not vacate Bulgaria until the 3rd of August, and I supposed that he wished to ascertain whether Her Ma- 569 jesty's Government had made any statement to the effect that the Russian Army was not to be bound to evacuate until the 3rd of August. I was prepared to say Her Majesty's Government had made no such statement; but as the matter now stands, with that struck out, I think the only answer I can give is this—that the Treaty of Berlin provided that the evacuation should take place nine months after the signing of the Treaty. The nine months have elapsed, and the evacuation is proceeding.