HC Deb 27 March 1876 vol 228 cc621-2

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, inasmuch as the Report of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shoreham (Mr. Cave) is not to be made public at present, he will, at any rate, state whether the more complete information now in his possession has induced him to modify, favourably or otherwise, the opinion previously formed by him as to the financial condition of Egypt?


Sir, though the hon. Gentleman has not, by the Forms of the House, been able to place his Question upon the Notice Paper in the shape in which he now puts it, I understand it to refer to the expressions used by myself in the course of a speech made six weeks ago, in which I referred to the opinion I had formed as to the financial condition of Egypt. I formed this opinion upon the information which I had at that time privately received from my right hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham. Since then I have seen the full Report of my right hon. Friend, and I see no reason whatever to modify in any way the opinion which I then expressed. Of course, six weeks have elapsed, and six weeks make a difference in the financial position of a country where there are public bonds to be renewed from time to time. In other respects I see no reason to modify or alter the opinion I have expressed. I wish to take this opportunity of referring to something which was said the other night by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, who, in answering a Question put to him, used words which I think have been misunderstood. When my right hon. Friend spoke the other day of the "unsettled condition of Egyptian finance, "he did not refer to any particular disclosures made in Mr. Cave's Report, but only to what is perfectly well known to the House and to all the world—namely, that the Khedive is endeavouring to make arrangements for the correction of the faults in the present financial condition of Egpyt, but that no decision has been arrived at. I do not believe that the publication of the Report would be injurious to the Khedive; but we are bound to respect his wishes on the subject.