§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he has observed that, in the Report of the Legislative Council, a desire is expressed that Egypt should be relieved of the Army of Occupation, and that, in his reply to this expression, the Egyptian Prime Minister has said that he hopes that the Army will gradually be reduced until the time comes when England will perform her promise of evacuation; and whether he can hold out any hopes that this promise will soon be fulfilled, and inform the House if any action has been taken, or is being taken, or will be taken, either diplomatic or otherwise, in order to bring the occupation to an end, and thus fulfil the promise made to Europe that the occupation would be temporary?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE,) Edinburgh, Midlothian
According to the information which I find has been received by telegraph, the Report of the 443 Legislative Council and the reply of the Egyptian Prime Minister do contain the separate expressions of opinion which are ascribed to them respectively in the question. As to the second part of the question, my hon. Friend will be aware that it is one which raises larger issues than can be satisfactorily entered into in answer to a question. The views of the Government have been fully stated and laid before Parliament, both in the Debate which took place on May 2 last and likewise in a Despatch from Lord Rosebery to Lord Cromer, which was presented to Parliament earlier in the year. It is not at the present moment deemed by us to be desirable to offer any statement to the House of Commons. Of course, it is obvious that any negotiations of such a character would have to take place, not with the Khedive and his advisers, but with the Suzerain Power.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (Manchester, E.)
I have a supplementary question to put. Before putting it perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow me, on my own part and on the part of my friends, to offer him our most sincere congratulations. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman—perhaps I may put the question to the Under Secretary if he desires it—whether there are any Papers on this subject which the Government propose to lay on the Table of the House?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I will make inquiries, but I do not think that there is anything in the present state of progress to enable us or to sufficiently justify our laying Papers at the present time on the Table. Allow me to thank the right hon. Gentleman for his great courtesy and kindness.