HC Deb 18 February 1904 vol 130 cc244-5
LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if His Majesty's Government still adhere to the opinion that the Convention between the Powers in regard to the Suez Canal, which was signed at Constantinople on the '29th October, 1888, and the ratifications whereof were deposited at Constantinople on the 22nd October, 1888, cannot be brought into practical operation, as was stated by Mr. Curzon on the 12th July, 1898, owing to the reserves made on behalf of Her Majesty's Government by the British delegates at the Suez Canal Commission in Paris, 1885, which were renewed by Lord Salisbury and communicated to the Powers in 1887; and if any communications have taken place between the Powers in regard to these reserves since 1898; and, if the Convention is not operative, if it is to be understood that His Majesty's Government adhere to the opinions embodied in Lord Derby's despatch of 6th May, 1877, written at the time of the Russo-Turkish war, in regard to the principles which regulate the navigation through the Suez Ca al in time of war.


The position has undergone no alteration since the answer was given to which the hon. Member refers. His Majesty's Government adhere to the opinions embodied in Lord Derby's note to the Russian Ambassador of 6th May, 1877, with regard to the principles which should govern the navigation of the Canal in time of war, and consider that the rules laid down in Articles 1 to 6 of the Convention are in accordance with those principles. Regulations designed to give effect to the second paragraph of Article 4 were issued by the Egyptian Government on the 10th instant.


Can the noble Lord explain how it was that the Government agreed to sign in 1888 a Convention they declared against in advance in 1887?


I must ask for notice of that Question.