§ MR. RENWICK (Newcastle-on-Tyne)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether precautions have been taken to prevent the sinking in the Suez Canal, intentionally or otherwise, of vessels belonging to either of the Powers at present at war in the East.
§ EARL PERCY
The free navigation of the canal is provided for by the Convention of 1888, Article IV. of which stipulates that no act of hostility, nor any act having for its object to obstruct the free navigation of the canal, shall be committed in the canal, and its ports of access. Russia is a party to this Convention, and though Japan is not one of the signatories His Majesty's Government have no reason to suppose that Japanese vessels would act otherwise than in accordance with its principles. In addition to the standing navigation regulations to which captains of ships bind themselves to conform, Rule 4 of the Regulations promulgated by the Egyptian Government on the 10th ultimo requires that every belligeren war-ship shell pass through the Suez Canal in the shortest time possible, and without stopping, except in case of necessity, or by order of the canal authorities.