HC Deb 29 October 1947 vol 443 cc854-5
25. Mr. Grenfell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether adequate precautions are being taken to ensure that arms and ammunition supplied to Arab countries by His Majesty's Government shall not be used for aggression against Palestine or sent into Palestine for illegal purposes by Arabs.

Mr. Bevin

Military equipment furnished by His Majesty's Government to Arab countries has been supplied to meet bona fide defence and internal security requirements. The strictest precautions are taken to prevent any smuggling of arms into Palestine.

Mr. House

Can greater precautions be taken against the stealing of rifles and Sten guns? I understand that on the Arab side £50 is paid for a rifle and £200 for a Sten gun.

Mr. Wilkes

In view of the fact that at present we have military missions in all the major Arab countries and that there is a constant flow of supplies to them, and in view also of the fact that on 14th May last the Minister of Defence informed me that we have recently supplied 40 military aircraft, 298 carriers, and 38 scout cars to one of those countries, is it not time that a review was made of that flow of military supplies?

Mr. Bevin

Now that we are under treaty obligations to the Arab countries and they are partners with us in defence, we have no intention of breaking those agreements.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the House is to rely on newspaper reports of the speeches made by the Colonial Secretary to the United Nations for its knowledge of His Majesty's Government's policy or whether any statement is ever going to be made to the House?

Mr. Bevin

That does not arise on this Question.