HC Deb 07 August 1882 vol 273 c962

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If he will be good enough to inform the House, if his attention has been called to the protests alleged to have been lodged by M. de Lesseps against the landing of British Troops on the property of the Suez Canal Company; and, if the ownership of the Canal is subject to the Suzerain rights of the Porte; if so, whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to negotiate for the purchase of the Sultan's monetary rights, with the intention eventually of arranging with the European Powers that the navigation of the Canal shall be that of an International Ocean-highway in times of peace as well as of war?


We are cognizant of the fact that certain protests, as they are called, have been made by M. de Lesseps on the subject of the landing of British troops; but M. de Lesseps does not, as we have ascertained, act in any way except as a private individual, and consequently we have not thought it necessary to take any steps with regard to these so-called protests. With respect to the question of the ownership of the Canal, and the intentions of the Government, it is our opinion that the only matter which can be considered with advantage at this moment is its present condition and the possibilities of its remaining open. The Canal is open, and therefore we are not disposed to raise any of these questions at the present moment.