HC Deb 22 July 1869 vol 198 c451

said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether his attention has been called to a Letter in the city article of "The Times" of July8th, signed by the Chairman of the Committee of Shareholders of the Société Agricole et Industrielle d'Egypte; and, whether the statements therein contained are correct; and, if so, what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken, or are prepared to take, to obtain the fulfilment by the Viceroy of the engagements entered into by him with Her Majesty's Consul General in Egypt?


said, in reply, that he did not think it would be convenient to discuss with the writer of that letter whether his statement was correct or not. He would, however, repeat to his hon. Friend the substance of the answer he gave the other day. The contention of the Government had always been that the British shareholders in that society were intitled to the same treatment as that which was meted to the foreign shareholders, and when they were informed that the Viceroy had settled on certain terms with the French shareholders, the Secretary of State had instructed Her Majesty's Consul General in Egypt to require that the British shareholders should have the same treatment. The Consul General, in answer to that instruction, informed them that the Viceroy intended that British shareholders should be placed in the same position as French shareholders. The Viceroy having purchased the shares held by two French firms, had consequently purchased those held by two English firms. We have not been informed that he had purchased the shares of all the French holders. Inquiries have, however, been made on this point in Paris, as he should certainly contend that it was only just that British shareholders should be placed in exactly the same position as French.