HC Deb 25 June 1883 vol 280 cc1430-1

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether the Government have authorised any person or persons to propose any, and, if any, what arrangement to the Suez Canal Company, or to any person or persons representing, or purporting to represent, that Company with reference to meeting the complaints of the British shipowners, as expressed to Her Majesty's Government at their interview with Lord Granville last month?


asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether the statement reported to have been made by M. do Lesseps is correct, that perfect harmony exists between the views entertained by Her Majesty's Government and the Suez Canal Company for the erection of a new parallel Company?


The Government, Sir, through their representative Commissioners, the members of the Board of the Suez Canal Company, have entered pretty largely into what I may call a comparison of views with regard to all the questions which this important subject embraces. That, of course, has gone on at Paris with M. de Lesseps and the other Directors of the Company. There is a great harmony of view on particular points that have been opened; but there are other points of great importance also, especially concerning the amount and time for reduction of rates in the Canal, with regard to which unity of view has not yet been arrived at. It would not be expedient, in our opinion, that we should make any public statement at the present time. The state of affairs we have reached does not permit it. The House will remember that on a former occasion I expressed a great desire on the part of the Government to have the assistance which could be rendered to us by the information and experience of the commercial community before we arrived at any binding agreement on the subject; and I am able to say that, before we do arrive at any such agreement, we shall be prepared to make a full public announcement of our views to Parliament.