HC Deb 05 July 1897 vol 50 cc1102-3

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government, in assenting to a certain increase in the customs tariff of Egypt, obtained an undertaking that £40,000 a year of the lighthouse dues would be surrendered, out of which the cost of additional lights in the Red Sea and of a light in the Gulf of Aden would be defrayed; whether that sum has now been reduced to £30,000, and whether that reduction was understood to omit the provision for the latter light; whether the Board of Trade were informed of such omission; and, whether he will lay upon the Table the correspondence between the two Departments on the subject?


In 1889 the Egyptian Government undertook to surrender £40,000 per annum of the light dues when the new tariff should come into force. No arrangement was made as to the disposal of that sum, but Her Majesty's Government had in view the construction of new lights in the Red Sea. No mention appears to have been made in any of the dispatches of a light in the Gulf of Aden. The new tariff has not come into force, nor has it been possible to see when it will do so. Nevertheless the Egyptian Government agreed to relinquish £40,000 of the light dues from January 1st 1894; and out of this sum about £65,000 has already been encashed for the construction of new lights in the Red Sea. From and after September 1st next the clues will be reduced by amounts per ton equal to about £32,000 per annum; but this figure has nothing to do with the omission of a light in the Gulf of Aden, which as I have said has never been provided for; the balance being devoted to expenses of the Quarantine Board, so as to avoid an extra tax on shipping. The Egyptian Decree respecting the reduction of the Dues will be published, but there is no correspondence of a character to be laid.


asked whether the provision of a light in the Gulf of Aden was not contemplated at the Fame time as were the additional lights in the Red Sea?


I have had all the dispatches looked into, and there is no mention of it at all.