§ MR. WEIR
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if lie will explain why, on the arrival at Port Said of the day train from Cairo on the 17th February last, passengers, after inscribing their names at the Sanitary Office, were not allowed to go on board the Peninsular and Oriental Company's homeward bound steamer "Arabia" until they received a permit from the Quarantine Office, distant a quarter of a mile, for which permit a charge of upwards of twenty piastres was demanded; will he ascertain whether this demand was rightly made, and why the office was left in charge of five natives, neither of whom could speak English, French, German, or Italian; and, seeing that 90 per cent, of the passengers passing through Port Said are English-speaking, can he take any steps with a view to secure the employment of more English-speaking attendants.
§ * THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Lord CRANBORNE,) Rochester
The formalities in question are in pursuance of the sanitary precautions adopted in consequence of the existence of plague in Egypt. The fee mentioned is that prescribed by the Quarantine Board. The Quarantine Office is only about two minutes walk from the landing stage. It is never left in charge of natives. There are no natives on the medical staff and only one native is employed as a clerk. Except during the tourist 1077 season, the proportion of English travellers is not largo. But if the hon. Gentleman would like to explain the matter to me in greater detail, I shall be glad to confer with him.