§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON (Canterbury)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the capital of the Suez Canal Company and the number of shares; how many of these shares and how much of this money is invested by the British Government; whether he is aware that the dividend on the Canal shares amounts to 28 per cent., and that as much as £2,000 was paid by one steamer for the privilege of passing through the Canal; whether the correspondence between the Prime Minister of Australia and the British Government on the appeal of Australia to reduce the Suez Canal transit duties, with a view to encourage traffic between the Home Country and the Colonies and India, will be laid upon the Table of the House without delay.
(Answered by Secretary Sir Edward Grey.) The capital originally consisted of 400,000 shares of 500 francs each. Of these 15,428 shares had been redeemed up to 1st January, 1907. 176,602 shares were purchased by His Majesty's Government at a cost of £3,976,582. I understand that the facts are correctly stated in the third part of the Question. The correspondence between the Colonial Office and the Governor-General of Australia has already been published in that Continent. Papers will be presented to Parliament here.