HC Deb 22 November 1888 vol 330 cc1811-2
MR. STANLEY LEIGHTON (Shropshire, Oswestry)

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether he can state the total sum that has been paid out of the revenues of Cyprus into the English Treasury since 1880; the amount by which the so-called tribute to Turkey, now paid to the British Government, has exceeded the grants-in-aid provided by Parliament towards the administration of Cyprus; and, the sum total which has been paid during the same period, under a similar arrangement, out of the revenues of Cyprus to the French Government?


(who replied) said: The Question of the hon. Member implies that he is under some misapprehension about the Cyprus Tribute payment. Under the Anglo-Turkish Convention of the 4th of June, 1878, we are bound to pay to the Porte an annual sum of between £92,000 and £93,000, based mainly on the average amount by which the annual revenue exceeded the annual expenditure when the Island was under the Government of the Porte. Our obligation in respect of this payment in no way depends upon the financial position of the Island. If the Island were bankrupt to-morrow, we should be equally bound, under the Convention, to make this payment to the Porte. The payment is thus an asset of the Porte, and may be considered to be a part of the revenues of the Ottoman Empire. On these revenues of the Ottoman Empire England and France have a claim in respect of the Guaranteed Loan of 1855. In that year England and France jointly guaranteed payment of interest at 4 per cent on a loan of £5,000,000, which was secured partly on the Egyptian Tribute and partly on the other revenues of the Turkish Empire. Turkey made default in 1875, and for some years we had great difficulty in obtaining the money required to meet the interest on this loan. We had to make advances, and, in one case, we had to make a demand on France for a contribution of £30,500. But when, in 1878, we obtained a hold over the assets of the Porte arising out of our obligation to pay £92,000 a-year under the Anglo-Turkish Convention, we naturally detained that asset for the purpose of meeting the joint guarantee of the Turkish Loan. By detaining this £92,000 a-year due from us to Turkey we have been able to repay the sums which were temporarily advanced out of the Consolidated Fund, and likewise the sum of £30,500 which France had been called upon to make good in respect of the Turkish Guaranteed Loan; and also to provide the sum by which the annual charge for the interest on that loan exceeded the Egyptian Tribute. The amount required to pay the interest on the Guaranteed Loan, in addition to the Egyptian Tribute, is £82,000 a-year; so that, after discharging the liability of England and France in respect of that interest in full, there remains a sum of about £10,000 a-year due from us to Turkey in respect of Cyprus. This sum is detained towards meeting the Sinking Fund of 1 per cent on the Guaranteed Loan, which, like the loan itself, was secured on the general revenue of the Ottoman Empire, of which the Cyprus payment constitutes a part. Full details of the grants in-aid and the Tribute payments are given in the Blue Book on Cyprus, No. C. 5,523 of 1888, p. 155.


gave Notice that he would take an opportunity of calling attention to the subject on the Vote for Cyprus.