§ MR. H. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer why, as the Turkish loan of five millions issued in 1855, the interest on which was guaranteed by this country and France, was made a first charge upon the Egyptian tribute, 1572 subsequent Turkish loans have been issued the interest on which has been made a charge on that tribute, which appear to have a prior claim upon it; whether £1,177,000 of the bonds of the loan have been redeemed, and consequently the outstanding liability has been reduced to £3,823,000; whether, of these outstanding bonds £2,695,000 have been drawn for redemption, but have not been redeemed, and whether powers were taken when the loan was issued to pay off the whole loan at any time; what portion of the total interest due on the amount of the loan outstanding, amounting to £152,120 per annum, is paid out of the Cyprus tribute, and from what sources the excess over that tribute is provided; whether he is aware that 2½ per cent. Consols are now quoted at 102¼ and that consequently a British guarantee enables money to be borrowed at 2½ per cent.; and whether, in view of the capacity of Cyprus to pay tribute and costs of her administration having been overestimated to the serious loss of the British taxpayer, he can convey to the House any hope that the loan will be converted into 2½ per cent, securities, and that at the same time negotiations with Turkey will be commenced urging on that country, in consideration of Great Britain and France having to meet their guarantee owing to its default, to reduce the tribute paid by Cyprus by the amount saved by the conversion?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir W. Harcourt, Derby)
said the hon. Gentleman had developed a rather elaborate financial scheme which he was afraid he could hardly criticise in answer to a question. The truth was that there were so many interests involved that he was afraid he could not see his way to an arrangement.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
asked whether, if the loan might be paid off at any time, it might not be paid off without the consent of the bondholders.