§ LORD LAMINGTON
My Lords, I wish to ask what guarantee British civil officials now serving in Egypt will have for payment of pensions or compensation on retirement under the newly constituted Government of Egypt; and to move for Papers. This Question deals with the great anxiety felt by a large number of British officials now serving in Egypt as to their official status under the new Constitution that has been, or is being, set up. I have no precise figures myself, and I will therefore defer any remarks until after I have had a reply from the Government.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
My Lords, I will give Lord Lamington a brief history of the whole question, and then he will see whether it is necessary to bring the matter up again later on. The prospect of a gradual reduction in the number of British officials serving under the Egyptian Government, in the event of a change in the status of Egypt, was first mooted in the Report of the Milner Mission. This Report recognised the necessity of making careful provision for those British officials with whose services the Egyptian Government might wish to dispense, or who might themselves wish to retire when the new régime contemplated in that document came into force.
In February, 1921, His Majesty's Government informed King Fouad that they desired to confer with an Egyptian Delegation regarding the proposals of the Milner Mission. An unofficial Committee had in the meantime been formed by the British officials in Egypt, and had evolved a scheme for compensation which, in their opinion, safeguarded their interests on an 869 equitable basis. This scheme was duly-forwarded by Viscount Allenby to His Majesty's Government, who consulted the president of the Institute of Actuaries as to its provisions. Sir Alfred Watson approved the general principles on which the scheme was based, and they were eventually embodied in the draft Treaty which was submitted to the Egyptian Delegation under Adly Pasha when it came to England last year. In the course of preliminary discussions the Delegation had shown themselves disposed to accept the general principles for compensation, and had made certain counter-suggestions on points of detail. Complete agreement, however, had not been reached when the general negotiations broke down. In the meantime, Sir Alfred Watson had revised the scheme on actuarial lines, and had worked out tables of compensation, as provided in the Treaty, which were at once communicated to Viscount Allenby as likely to prove of value in subsequent negotiations with the Egyptian Government.
The Declaration of His Majesty's Government; in February last terminating the Protectorate over Egypt has conferred no new powers on the Egyptian Government to dispense with the services of their officials. But His Majesty's Government fully realise that it is essential that British officials, in the changed conditions now obtaining, should feel that their future is amply safeguarded, and Viscount Allenby, who is in close touch with the officials concerned, has been instructed to take the matter up with the Egyptian Government. His Majesty's Government will use all their influence in order to secure that an equitable scheme of compensation is put into force with the least possible delay. It would, however, be premature in the circumstances to lay Papers regarding a matter which is at the moment the subject of negotiation.
§ LORD LAMINGTON
My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Earl for his reply. I understand that what caused alarm to these different officials was a speech by Sarwat Pasha, in which he stated that he could not consent to the compensation of British officials, but would leave the matter to be settled by the National Assembly. I presume, as these negotiations are still being carried on, His Majesty's Government will take cognisance of that repudiation. The sooner the minds of our officials 870 can be satisfied that their future is being safeguarded by His Majesty's Government, and that they will not be entirely left out in the cold, the happier they will be. It is only due to them that the Government should recognise the extreme importance of seeing that those who serve the Empire faithfully should have their interests looked after. I trust, therefore, that something may be announced to relieve the minds of these officials.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
Nothing can be announced beyond the fact that Viscount Allenby's attention is very closely directed to this particular subject, and he is actually discussing the matter with the authorities in Egypt.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.