HC Deb 06 March 1885 vol 295 c293

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether his attention has been called to the important statements made by Prince Bismarck in the German Reichstag on Monday, and especially to the following passage:— Being further asked whether I would not give my opinion as to what might be done, I said, If I were an English Minister I would not advise the annexation of Egypt, hut, at the same time, I admitted that it was necessary for England to establish a certain security of position in this connecting link between her European and her Asiatic possessions. In my opinion, however, I said, she could only gain this position through the Sultan, and thus avoid coming into contact with Treaties. Therefore, said I, if I were an English Minister, I would seek the mediation of the Sultan, in order through him to obtain a position in Egypt by means of which English interests would be safeguarded; and, whether, in order to safeguard the vital interests of England in Egypt, Her Majesty's Ministers will adopt this counsel?


Perhaps I am entirely behind the world in not having seen the text of the speech of Prince Bismarck. With regard to the suggestion in the Question, I may say that at all times in the regulation of our proceedings in Egypt—under circumstances of great difficulty—we have been very desirous indeed, and continue very desirous, to recognize the rights of the Sultan. That is the principle on which we proceed; but as to the application of it, of course I reserve a discretion on behalf of the Government according to circumstances.