HL Deb 02 May 1928 vol 70 cc933-4

My Lords, I wish to ask the noble Marquess whether he can make any statement with regard to Egypt.


My Lords, I am quite ready to make a statement, which I think has already been made in another place. There has been a reply by the Egyptian Government to the British Note. I hold only a rough translation of it in my hand but it will be published in to-morrow's newspapers. I have the answer which His Majesty's Government have authorised Lord Lloyd to make to this Egyptian Note, and it is as follows:— Your Excellency, I duly conveyed to my Government by telegraph the contents of Your Excellency's Note of May 1st, and I am now instructed to state in reply that His Majesty's Government have learned with satisfaction that, in compliance with the request of His Majesty's Government and in pursuance of the advice tendered by Your Excellency and the Egyptian Government, the Senate decided not to proceed with the Assemblies Bill during the present Session. His Majesty's Government take note of your assurance that this decision has been taken in conformity with the ardent desire of the Egyptian Government to reach an understanding and their conciliatory sentiments. They are therefore entitled to assume that the Egyptian Government will be careful to avoid any revival of the controversy which has led to the present crisis. 2. His Majesty's Government observe, however, that the intentions of the Egyptian Government respecting the future of this Bill are not explicitly stated in Your Excellency's Note. In these circumstances, they think it well to make it clear, in terms which do not admit of misinterpretation, that they regard certain provisions of the Bill as calculated seriously to weaken the hands of the administrative authorities responsible for the maintenance of order and for the protection of foreign lives and property. If, therefore, the measure in question were to be revived, or if other measures were introduced which in their view presented similarly dangerous features. His Majesty's Government would again be obliged to intervene, as in the present instance, to prevent their enactment. 3. His Majesty's Government can enter into no discussion respecting the Declaration of February, 1922. One of the consequences of that instrument was to entail upon His Majesty's Government the responsibility for the protection of foreign interests in Egypt. It will be clear from the preceding paragraph that His Majesty's Government are resolved at all times to insist upon a precise discharge of its terms. This Declaration embodies the conditions subject to which independence was accorded to Egypt; and His Majesty's Government will not permit it to be either modified or disregarded.


My Lords, it is obvious that at this moment we cannot profitably discuss this matter further. It may be that we shall have to advert to it later when we are in full possession of the Papers.


I hope Papers will be laid at the beginning of next week.