§ MR. GOURLEY
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If any negotiations have been entered into with the Turkish Government relative to the navigation of the Suez Canal, and the increase of dues imposed by the Company since the 1st July; and whether, if he could inform the House it was not a principle stipulated for in the construction of the Canal that its international neutrality as a highway to and from the East should be preserved for the use of the shipping of all nations?
§ VISCOUNT ENFIELD
Sir, in consequence of communications from the Italian Government and other quarters on the subject of the intended position by the Suez Canal Company of a tonnage due of 10 francs on the gross instead of the registered tonnage of vessels, Sir Henry Elliot was instructed to ascertain the views of the Turkish Government in the matter. He reported that the Porte were at first disposed to think that the Company were not justified under the terms of the concession in considering the tonneau de capacityé as gross tonnage; but it appears from a further despatch of Sir Henry Elliot that the Porte had, after examining the question carefully, come to the conclusion that the Company might charge the gross tonnage duty, making the same allowance for engine and coal space as had been done by the 643 Danube Commission. That is also the view taken of the question by our own Law Officers. The second Question of the hon. Member as to the neutrality of the Canal appears to be answered by the following extract from Article 14 of the concession:—Nous déclarons le grand Canal et les ports en dépendant ouverts à tou jours, comme passages neutres, à tout navire de commerce traversant d'une mer à l'autre sans aucune distinction, exclusion, ni préféSrence de personnes ou de nationalités.