HC Deb 13 December 1948 vol 459 cc837-8
59. Mr. Low

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the U.N. resolution, to which His Majesty's Government were a party, calling on all Governments not to send arms to the Middle East, he will make a statement regarding the arms obtained by the Jewish armed forces since the truce; and whether he will instruct the British representative at U.N.O. to raise the matter.

The Minister of State (Mr. McNeil)

Information on this subject has reached His Majesty's Government from many quarters. While it leaves no doubt that a flow of arms and fighting personnel has been reaching Palestine from abroad in violation of the United Nations arms embargo, this information does not make possible an authoritative numerical assessment of the resultant increase in the strength of the Jewish forces on land and sea. In relation to the air force, in particular, however, the increase has been substantial. In response to the Security Council resolution to which the hon. Member refers, information regarding violations of the arms embargo has been passed from time to time to the United Nations Mediator and his staff. The United Kingdom Delegation to the Security Council have also been instructed to raise the matter in the Security Council on any appropriate occasion.

Major Legge-Bourke

Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm whether or not it is a fact that Skoda rifles and Yak fighters are both being used in Palestine by the Israelis?

Mr. McNeil

Our information leaves no doubt that aircraft have been supplied by that factory.

Dr. Segal

In view of the fact that this country has for many years past supplied arms for several of the Arab States, would it not be more in accord with common decency if the Government instructed some other Power, such as China, to raise the matter at the United Nations?

Mr. McNeil

I fiercely repudiate the suggestion. The Government have paid meticulous care to the United Nations resolutions on this subject, and we expect others to do similarly.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Has not the supply of arms to Arab countries in the past years been because of our Treaty obligations to them?

Mr. Speaker

This Question deals with supplies of arms to the Jews, not to the Arabs.