HC Deb 19 June 1896 vol 41 cc1443-4
MR. H. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, whether, on the occasion of the frontier of Egypt being fixed at Wady Halfa, any expression of opinion for this frontier, as against the inclusion of Dongola within Egypt, was obtained from Lord Cromer; and, if so, whether he will lay such expression of opinion upon the Table of the House; and whether any information has been received as to the number of women handed over to or retained by the Egyptian troops after the conflict at Firket; if not, whether he will ask for this information and, when obtained, communicate it to the House?


As I have more than once stated in the House in reply to similar questions, it is entirely contrary both to practice and to convenience to make public the views of the various advisers of Her Majesty's Government upon any particular proposal. No information has been received with regard to any women having been handed to or retained by the Egyptian troops; and Her Majesty's Government, attaching no credence to the report, consider it unnecessary to make inquiries.


Will inquiry be made into this, because the statement has been publicly made in an English newspaper and telegraphed abroad, and it is desirable that it should be denied?


I have more than once said we do not propose to make inquiry, and I have said the reason of that refusal was that we did not attach to the words which appeared in the telegram the meaning that was put upon them in some quarters.

MR. C. P. SCOTT (Lancashire, Leigh)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he can now state under what flag the military operations in the Soudan are being carried on, and on whom in the last resort the responsibility rests for the conduct of these operations in accordance with the principles of warfare recognised among civilised states?


The military operations in the valley of the Nile are being conducted by the Egpytian army under the Egyptian flag. The responsibility for their conduct in accordance with the principles of warfare recognised among civilised States, rests with the Sirdar, who is a British officer in the Egyptian service.


I think the right hon. Gentleman has not fully answered my Question. He has not referred to the words "in the last resort." Supposing that the powers of the Sirdar are not fully adequate for that purpose, on whom does the responsibility rest for the conduct of operations? [Cheers.]


I am afraid that I cannot without notice answer a hypothetical question of that character.


Is not the Egyptian flag identical with the Turkish flag? [Laughter.]


No; I think not.


Will the right hon. Gentleman ask the First Lord of the Admiralty? [Laughter and cries of "Order!"]