|Firman of Mohammed Said Pasha
Ferdinand de Lesseps, Opening of the Suez Isthmus. Report and official documents, Henri Plon, Paris, 1855.
FIRMAN OF CONCESSION
M. Ferdinand de Lesseps will form a company, which he is authorized by us to manage, under the name of the Universal Company of the Suez Maritime Canal, for the opening of the Suez isthmus, the running of a route specifically for large ships, the creation or adaptation of two adequate entry points, one on the Mediterranean Sea and the other on the Red Sea, and the setting up of one or two ports.
The director of the Company will always be appointed by the Egyptian government and elected, as far as possible, by the Company's major share-holders.
The duration of this concession is ninety nine years, from the day that the canal between the two seas is opened.
Construction will be carried out entirely at the expense of the Company, to which all the necessary land which is not privately owned will be handed over free of charge. Any fortifications which the government sees fit to build in connection with this project will not be charged to the Company.
The Company will make an annual payment to the Egyptian government
of fifteen percent of the net profits appearing on the Firm's
balance sheet, without prejudicing the interest and dividends
generated by the shares, which it reserves the right to take into
its charge when they are issued, without any guarantee on its
part concerning the execution of the project or the running of
the Company. The rest of the profits will be shared as follows:
The fees payable for passing through the Suez Canal, agreed between the Company and the Viceroy of Egypt and levied by Company agents, are to be equal for all countries, with no special concessions being stipulated to the benefit of any one country.
In the case where the Company should judge it necessary to connect
the Nile to the passage through the isthmus by a navigable route,
or where the shipping canal should follow an indirect path watered
by the Nile, the Egyptian government would hand over to the Company
state-owned lands which are at present uncultivated, so that these
could be irrigated and cultivated by the Company or at its expense.
To avoid any difficulty concerning the lands to be handed over
to the concessionary Company, a plan drawn up by M. Linant-Bey,
our engineering representative with the Company, will indicate
the lands covered by this settlement, both for the channel and
other constructions to do with the shipping canal and the feeder
canal from the Nile, as well as for areas under cultivation, in
line with the specifications laid down in clause 7.
Finally, the Company is granted the right to extract free of charge from state-owned mines and quarries all the necessary materials for the building of the canal and related constructions, also to import duty-free any machinery and materials from abroad for the operation of its concession.
On expiry of the concession, the Egyptian government will take the place of the Company, assuming possession unreservedly of all rights to and becoming the owner of the Suez Canal and all operations associated with it. The compensation payable to the Company for the loss of its equipment and personal effects will be decided by amicable agreement or by arbitration.
The Company statutes will be submitted to us at a later date by the director of the Company and must win our approval. Any subsequent modifications must previously have been given our sanction. The afore-mentioned statutes should give the names of the founders, and we reserve the right to authorize this list, which will include the names of those who will have contributed initially to the implementation of the great Suez Canal project through their work, research, financial backing or other efforts.
Lastly, we pledge our loyal and willing cooperation and that of
all Egyptian officials in support of the profitable exercising
of the present rights.
3 Ramadan 1271.
O. Seal of the Viceroy.
Translation from Turkish text, (into French, ntr.)