§ Mr. DOUGLAS HALL
asked how many of the directors of the Suez Canal Company were appointed by the British Government; if these gentlemen were consulted before the British Agent in Egypt notified his consent to the decision of the Egyptian Government not to extend 1388 the Suez Canal concession: and, if so, what advice did they give; and whether the Government were prepared to lay upon the Table of the House the correspondence that had taken place between Sir Eldon Gorst and the Egyptian Government on this subject?
§ Sir E. GREY
Three representatives are selected by His Majesty's Government and proposed by the Board of Directors, after agreement, for election by the shareholders in general meeting. The official directors were not consulted before Sir Eldon Gorst assented on grounds of general policy to the decision of the Egyptian Government to abide by the vote of the General Assembly. His Majesty's Government are no doubt interested generally in the question of the Suez Canal, both as shareholders and on account of British shipping, but as far as the Egyptian Government are concerned it would not have been right that they should be pressed to extend the concession except on grounds of the interest of Egypt, and the attitude of His Majesty's Consul-General at Cairo has been that described in previous answers. I am not aware whether anything in the nature of written communications passed between Sir Eldon Gorst and the Egyptian Government respecting the vote of the General Assembly, and I cannot promise to lay any Papers on that point.