§ MR. BOURKE
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether Her Majesty's Government will lay upon the Table the copy of the invitation to a Conference upon Egyptian affairs sent to the Powers, and the Replies thereto?
If the right hon. Gentleman desires to have the document of invitation in the hands of the House, the Government would undertake to produce it. With regard to the answers, I consider the Question to be premature. They have not even yet been all received.
§ MR. BOURKE
Will the right hon. Gentleman say that the same course will be taken as in the case of the Conference at Berlin? That is to say, the answers and the invitations were laid before Parliament at the time the communication was made that the Conference would take place.
I must defer my reply to that Question until the answers have all been received. I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should put such a Question before the answers have been received. He must know that it is not the custom to give undertakings to produce Papers that are not yet in the possession of the Government. The case of the Berlin Conference was in no sense a parallel one to this, because we are not going to ask the House for a large Vote or Money to support our action at the Conference which is to take place.
§ MR. BOURKE
In consequence of the answer of the Prime Minister, I beg to give Notice that, if I have the opportunity, I will call attention to the matter on going into Committee of Supply.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, consistently with the public interests, he can give the House an assurance that the Representative of Her Majesty's Government at the contemplated Conference will give no pledge, and enter into no covenant, which either will involve, or which may involve, the taxpayers of this Country in any expenditure or responsibility in connection with Egyptian finance?
My hon. Friend will see that I cannot give an engagement of this kind. If we were to undertake that nothing should be done by us in Conference on one particular subject, other gentlemen, according to their opinions, would rise and inquire whether we could give similar engagements in regard to other matters in which they take an interest. The subject which my hon. Friend has mentioned is one of great importance; and I think he may rely upon it that we shall exercise due caution, and have due regard to what we know to be the feeling of the House.