§ MR. STOREY
said, that the Question of which he had given Notice as it appeared on the Paper contained no fewer than five grammatical inaccuracies, which made it almost unintelligible; and he should, therefore, prefer to ask only the first and last of the interrogatories, which were printed as follows:—To ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether Governor Weld reported on February 9th that an English guarantee of open ports and free traffic was undoubtedly contemplated by our Treaty with the Netherlands of 1871, and would immediately effect the relief of the detained crew, and Captain Roura was empowered, on November 20th, 1883, by the Netherlands-India Authorities to offer a large sum of money, and to promise that we (the Dutch) shall open his ports as soon as he has delivered the captain and crew; whether the negotiations fell through because the Rajah demanded a British guarantee as to open ports; whether Mr. Maxwell was empowered by the Netherlands-India Authorities to offer similar terms on February 18th, and whether he reported on 1611 March 1st that the Rajah refused them except under an English guarantee, and on March 21st—I have now no hope that the crew of the Nisero will be peacefully surrendered to the Dutch or to the English unless free trade on the West Coast of Acheen is re-established as fully as it existed before the war;and, whether the present proposals of the Government include an English guarantee to the Rajah of free trade and open ports, as contemplated by the Treaty of 1871; and, if not, wherein they differ from the old proposals, which all our officials on the spot reported as sure to be inoperative?
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
I have no difficulty in following the Questions as they appear on the Paper, notwithstanding the hon. Member's difficulty in doing so; nor do I think hon. Members will have any. I have no objection to make to the quotations from the Blue Books made by the hon. Member in the first two paragraphs of his Question. But I may remind him that the claim of the Dutch Government is that the commercial rights stipulated for under the Treaties of 1824 and 1871 are temporarily suspended by the blockade established owing to the hostilities now existing. The first three Articles of the Treaty of 1824, which was continued by that of 1871, stipulate for the free communication of the Natives in the Eastern Archipelago with the ports of the two Governments respectively. There is no intention of abandoning the Treaties of 1824 and 1871. The present proposals differ from the previous proposals, inasmuch as it is intended, in the event of the refusal by the Rajah to accept the proposed terms and release the crew, that the two Governments shall act jointly, and resort to force. In the event of his accepting the terms, as I stated yesterday, the Netherlands Government have agreed that his ports shall be re-opened and remain open so long as he does not rebel against their authority, and thus compel them to resort again to the blockade of his ports. Her Majesty's Government decline to doubt the good faith of the Government of the Netherlands in carrying out that agreement, or to demand any guarantee. I wish to correct the report of an answer I gave yesterday. I did not say that immediately on the receipt of the reply of the Dutch Government 1612 action had been taken on the spot by the local authorities; but that action had been at once taken at the Foreign Office with a view to action by the local authorities.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
I intended to lay them on the Table today; but there is a further despatch from the Secretary of State in reply to the last communication, and therefore I wish to produce them on Monday.