§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, as the right of the Egyptian people to vote its own Budget has been stated by the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to be a matter still pending, steps will now be taken to ascertain from the de facto Egyptian military authorities if they will not at once lay down their arms on the English Government undertaking to allow them the constitutional rights which they demanded in January last?
Sir, in answering this Question, I cannot speak in better terms than those which have been already used. My hon. Friend himself says in his Question that the right of the Egyptian people to vote its own Budget has been stated by the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to be still pending. The truth is that it is very difficult to raise in a naked or abstract form the right of the Egyptian people to vote their own Budget, and this for several reasons. My hon. Friend knows very well that the Egyptian people are the population of a Province of a particular Empire, and are subject, in the first place, to the immediate rule of their own local Ruler; in the second place, they have obligations arising out of matters connecting them with foreign 1836 countries, which rest upon rights long incorporated with the institutions of Egypt; and, lastly, with the Sovereignty of the Sultan of Turkey. All that has been said by my hon. Friend the Under Secretary or by myself is this—that as we have always approached this question, so we always shall, with the desire for the promotion and the development of institutions in Egypt which shall give to that country, with due regard to international and other existing rights, the full benefits, so far as we can secure them, of local self-government. It would be idle to speak of our obligations to the Egyptian military authorities, because those authorities, I must say, so far as I have been able to perceive, have only made use of the questions which arise from the rights of the Egyptian people as a pretext. They have been aware of our position with respect to the promotion of freedom and good government in Egypt, and I do not think that we have any question that can be addressed to them at the present moment except the question whether they will lay down their arms, which is a point of fact which it is not for me, but the proper authority, to determine.