THE EARL OF CARNARVON
said, he wished to put a Question to the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Their Lordships were aware that the Spanish troops had obtained considerable advantages over the Moors, and that in consequence of their recent victory and the capture of Tetuan the aspect of affairs in Africa had undergone a considerable change. He understood that negotiations had been going on between the Moorish authorities and the Spanish commander; and he saw it stated in the newspapers of that morning that Marshal O'Donnell had made proposals for a peace between the two countries. The terms which he offered to the Moors were stated to be, that an indemnity should be paid to Spain for the war, that the Roman 1661 Catholic religion should henceforth be respected in Morocco, that commercial stipulations should be entered into between the two nations, and that the territory which the Spaniards had occupied by force of arms should be made over to them as a permanent cession. With the first two conditions England was not particularly concerned; but he conceived that she had a material interest in the other two. The Spaniards were, no doubt, perfectly entitled to enter into any commercial or financial arrangements with Morocco, but this country was obviously interested in seeing that they did not, whilst securing advantages for themselves, impose indirectly restrictions upon the commercial privileges which other nations already possessed. He wished, therefore, on this head to ask the noble Lord whether he was in possession of any information as to the commercial stipulations under negotiation between Spain and Morocco, and whether he had any objection to produce the papers on the subject. The last condition of the proposed agreement—having reference to the cession of territory—was of still greater moment to this country. It appeared from the printed correspondence that on the 22nd of September the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, alarmed at the reports which prevailed as to the intentions of Spain in regard to the retention of territory she might have acquired by arms, wrote to Mr. Buchanan our Minister in Spain for information on the subject. The noble Lord stated that the British Government had no intention whatever of placing any obstacles in the way of the Spaniards, so long as they limited their operations to the reparation of the injuries they had suffered from the Moors, and the vindication of national honour; but that if the outrages of wild Moorish tribes were to be made a ground for the cession of territory, Her Majesty's Government were bound to look to the security of Gibraltar; and he therefore instructed Mr. Buchanan to ask for a written declaration of the intentions of the Spanish Government on that point. Mr. Buchanan accordingly applied to the Spanish Government for information on the subject; and the Spanish Minister replied by a rather wordy communication, which furnished little definite indication of the intentions of his Government. Mr. Buchanan was thereupon desired to renew the subject of which, Lord John Russell stated, the importance could not be overrated. He received 1662 for answer that the Spanish Government felt it difficult to state the exact nature of the guarantees they might find it necessary to demand, but that at all events they would not vary the intentions they had formed from the beginning of the question, not to occupy any point on the Straits, whose position would afford to Spain a superiority dangerous to the navigation. Now, it was clear that what constituted a position dangerous to navigation was one thing in an English and another in a Spanish point of view. He wished, therefore, to ask whether the Government were in possession of any reliable information on the subject, and if so, whether they would have any objection to lay it on the table? The correspondence closed at a point which left the intentions of both Governments in doubt, and the impression to be derived from the communications on both sides was far from satisfactory. If the Spanish Government determined to hold permanent possession of this territory, they would hold the ground from Ceuta southeast to Tetuan, and it was not quite clear that they did not intend to occupy ground in a westerly direction from Tangier. Such an occupation might easily become dangerous to our navigation and the security of Gibraltar, and was a question which could not fail to be regarded with interest and solicitude by the Government of this country.
said, that as the noble Earl had only given him notice that he intended to ask him whether the information published in The Times of that day was correct, relative to the terms of peace offered by Marshal O'Donnell to the Moors, he should confine himself to answering that question, and should not enter into the other matters to which the noble Earl had referred. The intelligence received by the Government was that—besides the demands specified in The Times, for the cession of the territory conquered by Spain, including Tetuan, the payment of a large indemnity, and concessions as to commerce—Marshal O'Donnell had demanded that a port on the Atlantic coast, near the Canary Islands, should be ceded by Morocco to Spain, and that Spain should have the right to establish a diplomatic agent and a Roman Catholic Mission at Fez.