HC Deb 22 November 1956 vol 560 cc1914-6
20. Mrs. Braddock

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the total number of directors in the Suez Canal Company; how many are British, French, Egyptian Dutch and American; how many of the British directors are Government appointees; who they are; what are the names and business associations of all the British directors; and to what extent they were consulted before the Canal Zone was entered by French and British troops.

Mr. Walker-Smith

There are thirty-two directors, nine of whom are British, sixteen French, five Egyptian, including one vacant seat, one Dutch and one American.

The British Government directors are Sir Alexander Cadogan, Sir Francis Wylie, and ex officio the Commercial Minister at the British Embassy in Paris.

The other British directors are:

  • Sir Harold Bibby.
  • Sir William Currie.
  • Sir Herbert Heath Eves.
  • Lord Hankey.
  • Sir Thomas Harrison Hughes.
  • Lord Rotherwick.
As regards the last part of the Question, Her Majesty's Government had no consultation with these gentlemen.

Mrs. Braddock

In view of the fact that these gentlemen will probably lose quite a large amount of money this year—each of them obtained £6,500 tax-free last year—does not the Minister think it would have been wise to consult them on the probable result to the British economy of the Government's action, since most of them are connected with shipping and banking?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I do not think that the objects of Her Majesty's Government in this matter, as defined in this House by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, would have made consultation of that sort appropriate in this case.

Mr. E. Johnson

Has my right hon. Friend any information as to whether these gentlemen were consulted by Col. Nasser before he seized the Canal?