§ MR. DAVITT
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that Article 4 of the Suez Canal Convention stipulates that vessels of war belonging to belligerents shall not remain longer at Port Said than 24 hours, except in cases of special distress, it is a breach of the regulations of such Convention for one of the combatants in the present war to keep its war ships at this port for a period of three or four days; whether, as it is also made incumbent upon such ships to make their transit through the 800 canal with the least possible delay and without intermission, except such as the canal service may demand, this prolonged stay is also a contravention of the law and rules governing the service of the Canal; and whether it is the Egyptian Government or Her Majesty's Government who is responsible for permitting this breach of neutrality?
The provisions of the Suez Canal Convention to which the honourable Member refers have never been brought into operation. The question of the duration of stay of foreign vessels at Port Said is one primarily for the decision of the Egyptian Government, and there has doubless been good reason for the course adopted in this case.
I am not in the immediate councils of the Egyptian Government, so I cannot inform the honourable Member.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
Did I understand the right honourable Gentleman to say that the Convention of 1888 is not in actual operation?