HC Deb 07 June 1894 vol 25 cc550-1
MR. GRAHAM (St. Pancras, W.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the statement made by Her Majesty's Agent and Consul General in Cairo that he did not at all regret the delay which has taken place in dealing with the subject of Nile reservoirs, and that he had persistently urged the neces- sity of dealing with this question with the utmost prudence and circumspection (Egypt, No. 1, 1894, p. 8); and to an article, in the May number of The Nineteenth Century, by Sir B. Baker, who is stated to have been a member of a Technical Commission for the consideration of this subject, in which it is said that, as regards the absolute necessity for the construction of a reservoir with the least possible delay, no shadow of doubt was expressed by any Member of the Commission; and whether Her Majesty's Government would consult independent experts in this country in regard to this subject, and place their opinion at the disposal of Pier Majesty's Agent and Consul General in Cairo for his information and guidance?


The statement is correctly quoted. The subject of Nile reservoirs has occupied the attention of the Egyptian Government for four years. After considering the various schemes submitted to them by their experts and others, they appointed an International Technical Commission, consisting of an English, a French and an Italian engineer, to advise them as to the one most suitable for adoption. I have seen the article written by Sir Benjamin Baker, the English member. It gives a clear account of the object and labours of the Commission and the extent to which Egypt will benefit by the construction of a reservoir. It is sufficiently clear from the context that in using the expression "absolute necessity" Sir B. Baker meant to indicate that the advantages of a reservoir were undoubted and convincing now that the barrage of the Nile had been completed. Her Majesty's Government have not been asked to recommend a scheme, and they see no reason for consulting independent experts in this country with regard to a matter which the Egyptian Government very wisely decided to refer to an International Commission of experts on the spot.

MR. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith)

Can the hon. Member say whether the Egyptian Government have arrived at any decision on the matter?


No, Sir; I think the Report is still under consideration.