§ MR. GOURLEY
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If it be true that (subject to the approval of the British Government) a satisfactory understanding has been arrived at between the English Directors of the Suez Canal and M. de Lesseps relative to the construction of a parallel Canal; and also for the reduction of the tonnage tariff; and, whether he can now inform the House of the nature of the alleged arrangement?
§ MR. CHARLES PALMER
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is prepared to make a statement respecting the negotiations between Her Majesty's Government and the Suez Canal Company; and, whether the time has arrived when He is prepared to re- 797 ceive representations and assistance from the commercial community, in accordance with his promise made on the 26th of June last?
I have to say very little upon this subject; but in saying that little it must not be supposed that I am going to recede from the statement which I made on a previous occasion, in as far as it expressed our belief that there was a fair and reasonable expectation of making progress in our communications with M. de Lesseps. But we have not yet arrived at a point in those communications at which we can make an explicit statement to the House. We were most happy to receive to-day a letter from the hon. Member for Hull (Mr. Norwood), setting forth what he believes to be the views of the commercial community, and certainly the points so set forth are those to which in the main the Government has given its attention. Not from the hon. Member alone, but from others who are well informed on the subject, we shall be happy to receive communications, and now is the proper time for addressing communications to the Government.
§ MR. CHARLES PALMER
asked the Prime Minister whether it was clearly to be understood that the commercial community in general would have an opportunity of expressing their views before any Treaty was concluded, and more especially that the House would have the Treaty submitted to it, and have the opportunity of expressing its views upon it before the Treaty was ratified?
I am not sorry that my hon. Friend gives me a further opportunity of stating the intentions of the Government. No engagement will be entered into by the Government with regard to the Suez Canal except subject to the approbation of the House.
§ MR. BOURKE
I wish the right hon. Gentleman would answer this Question, which is of very great importance, whether any concession will be necessary in case a parallel Canal is proposed and adopted by Her Majesty's Government, or in case any other Canal is proposed to be adopted? The right hon. Gentleman has already answered the Question about a Treaty which the hon. Member has put; perhaps he will tell us with whom that Treaty is to be made? At any rate, the right hon. Gentleman will, perhaps, answer the Question with respect to the 798 future concession. If not, I will put it down for another day.
the word "Treaty" was used by my hon. Friend, but was not used by me. I think I said "arrangement." I have, however, great hopes that upon a very early day either I or one of my Colleagues will be in a condition to make an explicit statement to the House. I hope, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman will allow the question to stand over.