§ MR. G. LAMBERT (Devon, South Molton)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty what British warships have visited Port Arthur during this year; what was the date of the Iphigenia leaving that port; and whether he would read to the House a copy of the telegram referred to in No. 63, China (No. 1, 1898), which elicited the reply that the Iphigenia would be leaving Port Arthur in a few days?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
Port Arthur has been visited during this year by the Daphne, Immortalité, Iphigenia, and Red pole. I believe the date of the Iphigenia leaving Port Arthur was the 26th January. The telegram sent to the senior naval officer on the 21st January was to the following effect—It is alleged by the Russian Government that Her Majesty's ships Immortalité and Redpole have arrived at Port Arthur. Will you state the facts?
§ MR. LAMBERT
Can the First Lord of the Admiralty give any information as to whether a telegram was sent which elicited the reply referred to in the Question—viz., that the Iphigenia would leave Port Arthur in a few days?
§ SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
I wish to know whether there was any direction or suggestion from the Government, or from the First Lord of the Admiralty, to Her Majesty's Naval Commander-in-Chief in the China Seas that British ships should leave Port Arthur, in consequence of representations on the part of the Russian Government?
§ SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
No, Sir. I submit that is not a complete answer, because all the telegrams are not in the Blue Book. If I am asking a Question without proper notice, I am ready to give notice, but the point is one as to which we are very anxious to obtain information. Again, I ask was there any direction or suggestion from the Government, or the Admiralty, to Her Majesty's Naval Commander-in-Chief that the ships should be taken away from Port Arthur?
§ [No Reply.]