HC Deb 29 May 1913 vol 53 cc335-6

I desire to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs a question, of which I have given him private notice: If he can state whether His Majesty's Agent and Consul-General in Egypt was consulted before the arrest of Alexandre Adamovitz in Alexandria; what was the specific charge on which he was arrested; whether the prisoner has been deported, and, if so, where; whether any correspondence on the matter has passed between the Russian Consul and the British Representative since the arrest; and, if so, will he communicate the gist of it to the House?


Before replying to the specific points raised by the hon. Member, I must make it clear that under the capitulatory régime at present existing in Egypt His Majesty's Government has no power to intervene in cases in which the Representatives of Capitulatory Powers claim to exercise Consular jurisdiction over their own nationals, and consequently His Majesty's Agent and Consul-General has no locus standi in the matter. With regard to the position of the Government of Egypt in the matter, jurisdiction over foreign subjects in Egypt is exercised by the Consuls of the foreign countries respectively concerned under conditions which the Egyptian Government is bound to observe and for which it has no other responsibility. There was, therefore—coming to the points in the question—no reason why His Majesty's Agent should have been consulted before Adamovitz was arrested, and as a matter of fact he was not consulted, nor did any correspondence pass between the Russian and British Representatives at the time. I do not know the charge upon which he was arrested. I have been informed by Lord Kitchener since the answer was given yesterday that Adamovitz will be sent back to Russia under arrest next Friday, the case having been duly investigated by the Russian Consul as Juge d'Instruction. The Consul-General has power to do this legally under the Capitulations. I may sum up the position broadly by saying that under the Capitulations the Egyptian Government is bound to hand over any foreign subject when so requested to the jurisdiction of the Consul of his nationality.