HC Deb 20 March 1883 vol 277 cc929-31

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether the statement that appears in a Router's telegram, that it is intended to issue a new Egyptian Loan for £5,000,000, £1,500,000 of which is for the cost of the British Army of Occupation, is correct; whether, if so, Her Majesty's Government is either directly or indirectly responsible for the repayment of this money, or for the payment of interest upon it; whether, considering the estimate of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, that the cost to Egypt of a British Army of Occupation of 12,000 men would be at the rate of £600,000 per annum, and considering that the Army of Occupation only now consists of 6,000 men, and that they are probably to leave Egypt in a few months, it is necessary to borrow £1,500,000 for their maintenance; whether the Egyptian taxpayers have assented, through their representatives, to the issue of this new Loan; and, whether the additional charge upon the taxpayers is to be met by any reduction on the interest of existing Loans?


asked the noble Lord, Whether there is any truth in the rumour that the Egyptian Government propose to raise a new Loan of £5,000,000 to pay the Indemnity Claims and the cost of the British Army of Occupation; whether this Loan will be an addition to the present debt of Egypt, amounting as it does to £97,000,000, with an annual payment of £4,000,000 on account of interest; whether such a proposal has the approval of Her Majesty's Government; and, whether this House will have any opportunity of debating and of passing its opinion on such a proposal?


Sir, in reply to the Question of my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere), and to that of my hon. Friend the Member for Andover (Mr. Buxton), I may state that Her Majesty's Government have, as yet, received no definite proposals respecting the Loan which it is reported the Egyptian Government are about to issue, and consequently the question as to what advice they may be called upon to give has not as yet arisen. In regard to the period of the occupation of the country by British troops, I must refer my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton to the recent statement of the Prime Minister.

In answer to Sir WILFRID LAWSON,


said, the House would, no doubt, have full opportunities of discussing Egyptian affairs after Easter. He had that day presented all the Papers which were of interest in the matter, including Lord Dufferin's despatch.



said, that the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had stated that there would be an opportunity after Easter to discuss Egyptian affairs. He desired to ask the Prime Minister when such opportunity would be given, seeing that additional light had been thrown upon Egyptian affairs by Lord Dufferin's latest despatch?


Sir, if I understood the noble Lord (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) correctly, he said more and he said less than is ascribed to him. He said more, because I do not think he stated that there would be "an opportunity" for discussing Egyptian affairs after Easter. I think he said there would be "opportunities" for discussing them. In another sense he said less, because he did not promise that a specific day could be given by the Government for the purpose, and I am not aware that there is any time specially in view. That is a matter that will have to be considered according to the Rules of the House and the state of Public Business.