HC Deb 27 November 1919 vol 121 cc1881-3
40. Major GLYN

asked the Prime Minister whether it is proposed to reconstitute the Egyptian and Soudan Civil Services, in view of the depleted condition of those services through casualties in the War and the suspension of recruiting during the War; whether the existing situation is one of the main causes of the present disturbed condition of Egypt, since adequate supervision of native officials was, and is, impossible; whether the new obligations of this country to other Arabic-speaking countries necessitates a new system by the formation of a Civil Service responsible for assisting in the good government of all Arabic-speaking countries under a British Protectorate or Mandate; and whether, without improved conditions of service, chances of promotion, and rate of pension on retirement, it is considered probable that suitable individuals will offer themselves for employment in the Civil Service of Egypt, the Soudan, Palestine, etc.?


A selection board representing the Egyptian and Soudanese Governments assembled in London during August and appointed candidates to fill vacancies in the Civil Service of the countries. As regards the second part of the hon. and gallant Member's question, it is impossible to analyse all the causes contributing to bring about the present disturbed condition of Egypt, but it is undoubtedly the case that the absence of sufficient British Civil servants during the War rendered the inspection and control of the work of minor Egyptian officials almost impossible. As regards the third part of the question, the proposal will receive consideration when the extent of our new obligations towards Arabic-speaking countries is determined. As regards the last part of the question, substantial improvement in the conditions of service in Egypt and the Soudan has already been effected, and further improvements are being considered.

Major GLYN

Arising out of the question, may ask the hon. Gentleman whether Lord Milner's Commission, before they proceed to Egypt, will be able to consider the future government of Egypt with the knowledge that the British Government are prepared to set up a Civil Service which will embrace all Arabic-speaking countries over which we have either Protectorate interests or a Mandate.


Perhaps the hon. Member will put that question down.


May ask whether the Milner Commission will be competent to inquire into the grievances, either individual or collective, of the existing British Civil servants in Egypt? Will that be one of their instructions?


I am afraid cannot answer that question. Notice should be given.


Cannot we have an answer to the question—it is a very important matter?


The Noble Lord must be aware that the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs is abroad on public business, and that the hon. Member for Southampton is only answering on his behalf.


But cannot we have an answer from the Prime Minister?


I think notice should be given of these questions in reference to Egypt. As my Noble Friend is well aware, this is a very delicate matter.

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