HC Deb 07 November 1955 vol 545 cc1464-5
38. Mr. Braine

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action has been taken to obtain redress for the British shareholders of the Egyptian Delta Light Railways Limited, the assets of which have been seized by the Egyptian Government and put up for auction.

Mr. Turton

Since my noble Friend's reply on 30th March, the Egyptian Government have twice put the assets of the company and the concession to adjudication in accordance with the Concession Deed and Schedule of Conditions. There were no tenders, and it is understood that the assets of the company have become the property of the Egyptian Government. Meanwhile, the company's plea that it was force majeure that prevented it from running its services efficiently and economically is still before the Egyptian Government. The hearing of the debenture holders' law suits has been postponed until 6th January.

Mr. Braine

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I was told in January that Her Majesty's Ambassador in Cairo was making strong representations to the Egyptian Government on this subject and that the matter then was sub judice and that the Egyptian authorities were making some inquiries? Is my right hon. Friend aware that I was told the same thing in March? Does his reply now mean that the British assets have been seized by the Egyptian Government and that there is no question of compensation being paid? If that is so, will further representations be made and at the same time some action taken?

Mr. Turton

In the case of the debenture holders, the matter is before the Egyptian courts and is, therefore, sub judice. It would be quite impossible to interfere while the matter is sub judice.