HC Deb 21 February 1887 vol 311 cc166-7
MR. ANDERSON (Elgin and Nairn)

also had the following Question on the Paper:—To ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Will Her Ma- jesty's Government state what are the proposals recently made at Constantinople by Sir Drummond Wolff to the Ottoman Porte relating to the future Government of Egypt; do such proposals involve a withdrawal of the troops until such a time as a strong Government, capable of holding its own, is established in Egypt; do such proposals involve any abandonment by this Country of the right to control the affairs of Egypt, should a return of the troops ever be necessary; and, do they include conditions involving a neutrality similar to that in force in the case of Belgium?


Sir, if my hon. Friends the Members for Great Yarmouth and Elgin will permit me, I will reply to their Questions at the same time as that of my hon. Friend the Member for Salford. I hope that my hon. Friends and the House will recognize that it is both inexpedient and contrary to the uniform practice that I should state publicly the precise terms of the proposals which have been made by Her Majesty's Special Commissioner with reference to Egypt. But in view of the considerable anxiety in regard to certain points indicated by the Questions, I am able to say that those proposals do not involve a withdrawal of the troops so long as there is any apprehension that the Government of Egypt is not in a position to maintain itself. Her Majesty's Government have never made any proposal tending to renounce their right to protect the tranquillity of Egypt from external or internal disturbances; and there is no foundation for the impression that Her Majesty's Government look upon the position which was assigned by Treaty to Belgium as a precedent which it is desirable to follow in the arrangements which shall be made for Egypt. Her Majesty's Government are well aware of the different circumstances in which Belgium and Egypt stand.