§ MR. RANDELL (Glamorgan, Gower)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Suez Canal Company have sanctioned Provisional Regulations which propose to permit the passage of tank steamers laden with bulk petroleum through the Suez Canal on and after the 1st July next; whether Her Majesty's Government are aware that in the opinion of the eminent petroleum experts, Sir Frederick Abel and Mr. Boverton Redwood, such proposed traffic will be fraught with danger to life and property on the Canal; and, if so, what steps, if any, do the Government propose to take to prevent such threatened danger; and will he lay a copy of such Provisional Regulations, and of the whole of the correspondence which has taken place relating to this passage of petroleum in bulk through the Suez Canal upon the Table of the House?
MR. J. W. LOWTHER
The Suez Canal Company have sanctioned Provisional Regulations for the passage of petroleum tank ships on and after the 1st July next. A copy of the Report of Sir Frederick Abel and Mr. Boverton Redwood has only been received to-day, and will be forwarded to the British Directors of the Suez Canal Company. Her Majesty's Government have no power to interfere with the Company in regard to the regulation of the traffic passing through the Canal so long as the Company complies with the provision of its Charter—that the flags of all nations shall receive equal treatment. There is no objection to lay the Papers asked for, but I desire to point out that the Regulations referred to appeared in the Board of Trade Journal for February, and the correspondence with the Shipping Associations, Chambers of Commerce, and others, has already been made public.