§ MR. MAGNIAC
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is aware that the names of a number of gentlemen have been published as members of the International Consulting Committee of the Suez Canal, comprising those of Major General Sir Andrew Clarke, K.C.M.G. Inspector General of Fortifications and Director of Works, and Captain Chitty of the Royal Navy; whether these officers have been officially placed upon that Commission by the Government, or whether they have obtained permission to place themselves upon it; and, whether, if not acting officially, it is desirable, in the interests of the Country, that an officer occupying the distinguished and confidential position of Sir Andrew Clarke, should be so situated?
I believe the case stands thus. Seven members of the Committee of the Suez Canal have been appointed. Three of these are official gentlemen, and four are gentlemen connected with the shipping interest. The four connected with the shipping interest are Mr. Sutherland, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Laing, and Mr. M'Killan. The official gentlemen are the two named by my hon. Friend—namely, Sir Andrew Clarke and Captain Chitty, and a third, Sir John Coode. These have been appointed, or, at least, presented for appointment, by the Government after every pains had been taken by my right hon. Friend near me (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) to refer to what were considered the best authorities, so as to secure the very best choice of persons, those 1104 authorities being partly official and partly non-official. Captain Chitty was appointed after consultation with the India Office, Sir John Coode after consultation with the Board of Trade, and Sir Andrew Clarke after consultation with the Colonial Office and the Representatives of the Australian Colonies. As my hon. Friend points to the case of Sir Andrew Clarke in a manner really to raise a question as to the propriety of these appointments, I ought to say that they have been very carefully considered. Sir Andrew Clarke has not only been Governor of the Straits Settlements, and a member of the Viceroy's Council in India, but he was nominated by the Admiralty in 1869 as one of the persons commissioned to report on the Suez Canal, and that Report has been before Parliament. He has since carefully studied the question of the enlargement of the Canal, and his presence on the Committee as an English member will be of special value.
§ SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
Is this a standing Consulting Committee, or merely a Committee to advise as to the enlargement?
I believe it is not a standing Consulting Committee; but it has been chosen as most likely to give the best advice concerning the enlargement or duplication of the Canal.