HC Deb 07 May 1930 vol 238 cc930-4
3. Mr. WELLS

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any representations have been received from the judicial adviser as to the effect of the proposal to transfer to the mixed courts in Egypt the right of veto over legislation which discriminates against Europeans?


Yes, Sir. As my right hon. Friend informed the hon. and gallant Member for Howdenshire on 17th April, the High Commissioner has had the advantage of Mr. Booth's advice on all points arising from the proposals which are now being discussed.


Is it the case that there will be a right of veto or, if the Treaty proposals were passed, would it be possible for legislation discriminating against certain Europeans to be passed?


It is clearly undesirable that I should answer questions at this moment on details connected with Anglo-Egyptian negotiations. There is a later question on the Paper to which I shall return a general reply.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in the proposals for the treaty with Egypt, a term is proposed to be included defining the attitude of Great Britain in the event of intervention in the internal affairs of Egypt by a foreign Power?


Any treaty which is concluded will be submitted to the House before it is ratified, and the House will then have a fresh opportunity of discussing its terms. Meanwhile, my right hon. Friend cannot think it would be in the public interest to give specific answers to questions of this nature.


In any event, will the Government regard intervention by a foreign Power as an unfriendly act, and is that consistent with a reply given by the Foreign Secretary the other day when he said that Italy could be expected to look after her own interests in Egypt?


I have nothing to add to the carefully considered answer I have just given.


In the answer in which the Foreign Secretary said Italy could be trusted to look after her own interests, did he imply that Italy had a right of intervention in the case of certain matters arising?


If the hon. Gentleman is not prepared to give an answer to a detailed question—I do not want to press that—surely we are entitled to know whether these points are being considered or not?


All relevant points are being considered in connection with the treaty.


Has the Italian Government been consulted in any way on these aspects of the treaty?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the latest figures as to the population of foreigners in Egypt; and to what extent have the Governments of foreign nations so represented been consulted in connection with the proposals put forward in the offer to Egypt set out in the White Paper of last year?


As the answer to the first part of this question contains a number of figures, I propose, with the hon. Member's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. As regards the second part, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply returned to the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Wells) on 17th April, to which I have nothing to add.


I do not wish in any way to press the hon. Gentleman to give those figures now, but is it not a fact that there are a certain number of European nationalities who have more nationals in Egypt than there are British, and in that case is it not very desirable that these other countries so represented should be consulted?

Following are the figures:

According to the Census of 1917, which is the latest information available, the figures for the foreign population in Egypt are as follow:

Greek 56,731
Italian 40,198
British 24,354
French 21,270
Russian 4,225
Austrian 2,789
Spanish 1,693
Persian 1,496
Rumanian 895
Dutch 706
Swiss 622
Belgian 518
American 514
Bulgarian 246
Danish 157
German 157
Portuguese 147
Swedish 88
Abyssinian 60
Norwegian 25

12. Lieut.-Colonel JAMES

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any conditions are being put forward limiting the numbers and armament of the Egyptian Army under the régime to be created by the draft Egyptian Treaty?


No, Sir; no such conditions appear in the proposals for an Anglo-Egyptian settlement, which my right hon. Friend submitted to this House last August.

Lieut.-Colonel JAMES

Does it occur to the hon. Gentleman that the fact that these conditions are not being raised is reasonable in view of the declared policy of His Majesty's Government?


I cannot at this moment add anything to the statement I have already made on the subject of Anglo-Egyptian relations.


Are we to understand that the conditions set up last autumn are going to be meticulously stuck to in every detail?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now make a statement as to the position of the negotiations with the Egyptian representatives?


The negotiations, which were resumed on Monday evening, are continuing. My right hon. Friend hopes to be in a position to make a statement to-morrow.

17. Colonel GRETTON

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if the Agreement discussed with the Egyptian delegation provides that the decisions of the Mixed Tribunals shall be upheld and cannot be set on one side by the Egyptian Government or by decisions of the Egyptian Native Courts?


No, Sir. The present negotiations are not concerned with the decisions of the Mixed Tribunals, which are established in virtue of agreements between the Egyptian Government and the Capitulatory Powers.

18. Colonel GRETTON

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if a commercial treaty is provided for in the agreement discussed with the Egyptian delegation; and if any special terms are contemplated for British contracts and British imports into Egypt as some consideration for the proposals to which the British Government is prepared to agree?


No, Sir. The question of a Commercial Treaty has not yet been raised.


Before an agreement is come to, will the question of a commercial treaty be raised?


As I have previously said, I do not think it is desirable at this moment, in answer to supplementary questions, to give details of various matters which may be under discussion by the Anglo-Egyptian Conference.


Are we to understand that the hon. Member regards the question of a general commercial treaty as a matter of detail?

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