§ VISCOUNT FOLKESTONE
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether it was true, as stated in The Daily Telegraph to-day, that the British Government had informed the Egyptian authorities of their desire to render them every assistance during the prevalence of cholera, and had offered to give medical aid, which offers, however, had been declined; whether he had seen the report quoted by The Times 1234 Correspondent at Alexandria, from Dr. Mackie, to the following effect:—In a town of which the population is stated to number 35,000 there seems to have been no organized medical hospital service; no help of any sort, for rich or poor. They were shut in the cordon, and left at the mercy of the disease, to die in numbers, and to propagate cholera;and whether, considering the importance it is to this country that the epidemic should be stamped out, the Government would continue to press offers of assistance upon the Egyptian Government, seeing that the British Government was the paramount Power in that country?
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
I have no objection to answer the Question, with the exception of the portion relating to Dr. Mackie, because that Re-port has not reached the Foreign Office. With regard to the principal portion of the Question of my noble Friend I am quite prepared to give an answer. It is true—I stated it a few days ago—that Her Majesty's Government have proffered assistance to the Egyptian Government in regard to stamping out that terrible evil which now prevails in Egypt. Sir Edward Malet was instructed to inform Sherif Pasha, in a formal manner, apart from previous communications, that Her Majesty's Government were anxious to do all that lay in their power, and would be glad to receive any detailed request which the Egyptian Government might wish to make. In reply to offers of assistance thus tendered Her Majesty's Government were met by the Egyptian Government in a very fair and courteous spirit; but, nevertheless, the Egyptian Government did not consider that they were unable to cope with the evil which existed. I think I cannot do better than read the telegram from Sir Edward Malet, in which he conveys the reply of Sherif Pasha. Sir Edward Malet says he had communicated with Sherif Pasha, and the reply was as follows:—That he must thank Her Majesty's Government for their kind offer.He says—We have taken all measures rendered necessary under the circumstances, and we have even decided to employ doctors not in the Government service, and send them to the infected places. If this should prove ineffective, we shall have a great pleasure in applying for help to Her Majesty's Government; but we do not consider such an application will be necessary, seeing that the mortality is already decreasing, even if it did not seem likely that the decrease would he localised.1235 That was the reply of Sherif Pasha; but notwithstanding that reply, Her Majesty's Government did not consider that they could see any advantage in going back upon the pledge I gave the House the other day—namely, that skilled assistance, especially the assistance of somebody skilled in the treatment of the disease in question in India, should be given to the Egyptian Government. Therefore, it has been decided again to renew that offer of assistance, and it has also been determined to send out to Egypt a medical gentleman of high position, having the rank of Surgeon General. I hope to be able—though I cannot give a distinct pledge—to communicate the name of this officer to the House to-morrow. He will be sent out, in the first place, to report to the Local Government Board, and particularly to the Committee on Cholera—the composition of which I announced to the House the other day—the Committee presided over by my right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board. He will report as to the character of the disease, and any other circumstances which he may think it desirable to state. In the next place, he will be there to support Sir Edward Malet in advising the Egyptian Government as to the proper measures which ought to be taken in the different places under the present grave circumstances undoubtedly existing. Sir Edward Malet will be instructed to inform Sherif Pasha that this gentleman's services are at the disposal of the Egyptian Government in whatever way it may be considered most desirable to employ his ability, energy, and experience.
§ VISCOUNT FOLKESTONE
asked whether the Surgeon General, or medical officer, mentioned by the noble Lord was to be sent from England, or whether he was available on the spot?
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
said, the gentleman to whom he had alluded would be sent from England. He was a gentleman of great experience; and he thought his noble Friend would see that in cases of this kind it was most important to have the services of some gentleman cognizant with the disease.