HC Deb 05 March 1891 vol 351 cc232-4
MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that the Khedive of Egypt has abandoned the Soudan, but has not abandoned his "rights of sovereignty" over it, the inhabitants of that country are deemed rebels to their Sovereign by Her Majesty's Government; whether the de facto Government of that country is recognised by Her Majesty's Government; whether the sovereignty of the Soudan, claimed by the Khedive, is recognised by his Suzerain, the Sultan, since the Khedive officially announced that "he abandoned the country;" whether the rights of sovereignty claimed by the Khedive extends to Kassala and to Khartoum, and what are the geo- graphical limits of the territory called the Soudan over which they are claimed; whether they are the same as those possessed by the Khedive Ismael; whether, when the Khedive "abandoned the Soudan," any places, except Massowah and Suakin, were excepted from that abandonment; whether he is aware of any official document, either published by Her Majesty's Government or by the Government of the Khedive, by which, either directly or indirectly, that part of the Soudan called Tokar was excepted from the general declaration of abandonment; whether any portions of the Soudanese littoral, except Massowah and Suakin, were excepted from the abandonment; whether, directly or indirectly, Her Majesty's Government has given any assurance that it would defend or maintain Egyptian authority in any territory beyond Egypt and Suakin; whether Her Majesty's Government has called the attention of the Egyptian Government to the fact that the military occupation of Tokar by a portion of the Egyptian Army throws increased responsibility and risk upon the British garrison in Egypt in maintaining order, and whether it is intended to call upon the Egyptian Government to make any increased payment to Her Majesty's Government in consideration of this increased responsibility and risk; whether Her Majesty's Government are precluded from entering into any arrangements with the de facto Government of the Soudan, or from obtaining from that Government exequaturs for Consuls from the de facto Government; and what is the area of the territory called Tokar, over which the Egyptian Government intends to exercise civil and military power, as a portion of the territories under the sovereignty of the Khedive?


(1.) The rights of sovereignty are the Sultan's, not the Khedive's. Subjects of the Sultan resisting authority exercised in his name are rebels. Since 1885 the collisions which have occurred with any inhabitants of the Soudan have been provoked by themselves. (2 and 11.) We know nothing of the de facto Government of the Soudan. (3.) The Sultan of Turkey has not abandoned his rights over the Soudan. On the 30th of June, 1885, the Turkish Ambassador made a formal statement to that effect to the present Foreign Secretary. The Sultan has done nothing inconsistent with the title of the Khedive to the position of his Representative in his dominions in the Soudan or any part of them. (4, 5, 6, and 7) As I stated in answer to the hon. Member's question of March 2, we cannon undertake to define the limits of the Sultan's sovereignty in the Soudan. (8 and 9.) The only assurance given by Her Majesty's Government to the Khedive with respect to the defence of his territory is contained in Lord Granville's Despatches of December 13, 1883, and January 4, 1884— They will be prepared to assist in maintaining order in Egypt Proper, and in defending it as well as the ports in the Red Sea. And again— Her Majesty's Government will on their part be prepared to assist in maintaining order in Egypt Proper, and in defending it as well as in continuing to protect the ports in the Red Sea. (10.) Her Majesty's Government do not concur in the opinion expressed in this question. (12.) Tokar is a town, and the name is commonly given to the fertile oasis adjacent to it. We do not know its extent.