HC Deb 19 March 1896 vol 38 cc1360-1
SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether Her Majesty's Government have made any communications to Foreign Governments on the subject of the intended Military advance on the Nile; if so, what was the purport of such communications, and whether any communications have been received from Foreign Governments on that subject; whether he will state from what source the expenses of the proposed operations will be defrayed; and, whether any estimate has been formed of the amount?


Her Majesty's representatives at Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Rome, and St. Petersburg were instructed to communicate to the Governments to which they are respectively accredited the grounds upon which it had been decided to make an advance up the valley of the Nile, and they were desired to point out that, in order to meet the expenses of the expedition, a larger sum might be necessary than was actually at the disposal of the Egyptian Government, and that her Majesty's Government hoped the Caisse of the Public Debt would give its consent to the expenditure of half a million, if it be necessary, from the general reserve fund of 2½ millions which has accumulated and is applicable to extraordinary expenses. Replies to this communication have been received from the German, Italian, and Austrian Governments, but no answer has as yet been received from the French or the Russian Governments. The operations being undertaken in the interests of Egypt, the cost will naturally be defrayed out of Egyptian funds. No exact estimate can be formed at this stage and in this country of what the eventual expenditure will be.


May I ask whether the House is to discuss the matter to-morrow without having before it the explanations which have been given to Foreign Governments as to the grounds for the expedition?


I do not think any further Papers can at this stage be laid before the Heuse of Commons.