HC Deb 23 July 1908 vol 193 cc330-1

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction Which exists among British shipowners in regard to the dues charged by the Suez Canal Company; whether he is aware that an agreement was made in 1883 between M. Charles de Lesseps and the representatives of English shipowners, which provided that the dividend might rise from 17 per cent. until it reached 25 per cent., after which the surplus profits were to be used in reduction of the dues until they reached five francs per ton; whether this agreement was duly signed by the parties and subsequently ratified at a shareholders' meeting of the Suez Canal Company in Paris; whether the canal company have refused to carry out the agreement, though the dividend rose to 26 per cent. in 1904, and has been 28 per cent. since 1906; and whether he can see his way to using the influence of the British Government to assist in securing the observance of that agreement.


I am aware of some dissatisfaction among owners of cargo vessels and of the agreement between Monsieur Charles de Lesseps and the members of the association of steamship owners trading to the East as well as of its submission to the shareholders. The agreement was, however, subsequently modified by the successors of the original parties to it, and it is not in the power of the British Government to have it altered.

MR. ASHLEY (Lancashire, Blackpool)

Is it not the fact that these dues are an advantage to this country, which holds a large number of shares?


Of course we get the benefit.