HC Deb 16 May 1892 vol 4 cc964-5
MR. CRAIG (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will give the names of the experts whose assistance was given by Her Majesty's Government to the British Directors of the Suez Canal Company, when the regulations for transport of petroleum in bulk through the Suez Canal were under the consideration of the Company; and if he can say whether the experts in question acquainted themselves, by personal observation, with the exceptional conditions and circumstances under which this traffic must, if permitted, be conducted?


The Inter-Departmental Committee which considered the regulations referred to was composed of Colonel Majendie (representing the Home Office), Sir Digby Murray (representing the Board of Trade), Captain Wharton (representing the Admiralty), Sir Rivers Wilson and Sir J. Stokes (two of the British Directors of the Suez Canal Company), and myself (representing the Foreign Office). The names of the first three gentlemen are, I think, a sufficient guarantee of the quality of the assistance given to the British Directors. The hon. Member is labouring under a misapprehension if he thinks that any power is vested in Her Majesty's Government to permit or forbid any particular class of traffic through the Suez Canal. Her Majesty's Government have no such power; nor has the Company.

MR. BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he has considered the provisional regulations of the Suez Canal Company for the carriage of petroleum in bulk, as they affect the safety of the thousands of Her Majesty's troops annually passing through the Canal?

THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Lord G. HAMILTON,) (who replied) Middlesex, Ealing

The question of the carriage of petroleum in bulk through the Suez Canal was considered by an Inter-Departmental Committee at the Foreign Office in December last, and additions to the proposed regulations were framed with the object of making the traffic as safe as possible. These proposals were submitted by the British directors to the Suez Canal Company, and have been in part included in the revised regulations. I am, however, informed that at present petroleum is not carried in bulk through the Canal.