HC Deb 17 March 1884 vol 286 c28

asked the Secretary of State for War, with reference to the announcement to the effect that it is not intended to hold any of the Red Sea Ports except Suakin, and that with regard to that other arrangements may ultimately be made, What are the other arrangements which Her Majesty's Government propose to make with regard to Suakin; and, whether, in view of the declared intention of the Government, to the effect that it is essential that the British Government should take care that these ports are held either by a civilised Power or by one under the influence of a civilised Power, and that British interests demand that no European Power should have a port on the Red Sea, there is any truth in the report that Her Majest's Government propose to hand over the Red Sea Littoral to the Porte?


Sir, I do not think I said, and I certainly did not mean to say, that it was intended to hold any of the Red Sea ports, including Suakin, or that it was intended not to hold any of them with the exception of Suakin. What I said, or, if did not say it, certainly what I ought to have said, was that the Government had always announced their intention from the very earliest stage to assist the Egyptian Government in the protection of the Red Sea ports and the coasts of the Red Sea. With regard to the last part of the hon. Gentleman's Question, the Government have made no proposal to hand over the Red Sea ports to the Porte. Of course, I am aware that suggestion has been discussed; but I do not think it would be advisable or convenient for me at the present moment to give any answer as to the intentions of the Government with regard to that or to any proposals which may have been suggested.