COMMONWEALTH BANK: EGYPT WHETHER BRANCH OF COMMONWEALTH BANK CAN BE ESTABLISHED IN EGYPT: DISTINCTION BETWEEN ESTABLISHMENT OF GENERAL BANKING BRANCH AND SAVINGS BANK BRANCH: STATUS OF EGYPT
COMMONWEALTH BANK ACT 1911. ss. 23, 35 (2)
The Secretary to the Treasury desires an opinion on the following matter submitted by the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia:
I have the honour to request that you will be good enough to obtain the opinion of the Attorney-General as to whether a branch of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia could be opened in Egypt, in terms of the Commowealth Bank Act 1911-1914, for the conduct of both general banking and Savings Bank business.
In this connection I would refer you to sections 23 and 35 (2) as amended of the Commonwealth Bank Act. Sections 23 and 35 (2) of the Commonwealth Bank Act 1911-1914 are as follows:
23. The Governor may, with the consent of the Treasurer, establish a branch in London in the United Kingdom, and may with the like consent establish branches in any other places beyond the Commonwealth.
35.(2) Branches or agencies for Savings Bank business may be established at any place within the Commonwealth or any territory under the authority of the Commonwealth, or, with the consent of the Treasurer, in any other part of the King's dominions, notwithstanding that the Bank has no branch or agency for general banking business at that place.
So far as the establishment of a branch of the Bank for the conduct of general business is concerned there appears to be no objection to such establishment providing the Treasurer consents thereto.
The question as regards Savings Bank business is somewhat more difficult. On 18 December 1914 the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs gave notice that-
In view of the state of war arising out of the action of Turkey, Egypt is placed under the protection of His Majesty and will henceforth constitute a British Protectorate. The suzerainty of Turkey over Egypt is thus terminated and His Majesty's Government will adopt all measures necessary for the defence of Egypt and the protection of its inhabitants and interests.
In my opinion the action of the Imperial Government in constituting Egypt a British Protectorate does not have the effect of making Egypt 'part of the King's dominions' within the meaning of section 35 (2) of the Commonwealth Bank Act 1911-1914. I do not think, therefore, that that section permits the establishment in Egypt of a branch of the Commonwealth Bank for the transaction of Savings Bank business.
[Vol. 14, p. 297]
(1)Date in opinion Book incomplete.