HC Deb 07 July 1948 vol 453 cc358-60
22. Mr. Warbey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many military officers and other ranks of British nationality are now employed as members of the British Military Mission to Saudi Arabia; and whether, in view of the fact that Saudi Arabian troops have now joined the Arab forces within Palestine, it is intended that the British Military Mission shall continue to train Arab troops in Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Mayhew

Twelve officers and 33 other ranks are now serving with the British Military Mission in Saudi Arabia. My right hon. Friend does not consider that the presence of Saudi Arabian troops in Palestine, where there is at present a truce, warrants any interruption of the work of this Mission.

Mr. Warbey

But does my hon. Friend consider that the continuance of military assistance to one of the Arab States, which has forces in Palestine, is consistent with the undertakings given by my right hon. Friend when the truce was arranged?

Mr. Stokes

Before my hon. Friend answers that question, might I ask him whether he has any information to give to the House as to the number of American officers who are helping the Jews?

Mr. Gallacher

Answer the question.

Mr. S. Silverman

Mr. Speaker, is it not possible to get an answer?

Mr. Mayhew

The answer to the hon. Member—

Mr. Warbey

On a point of Order. Is it in Order for an hon. Member to rise and put a supplementary question when, as far as I could hear, his name was not called by yourself?

Mr. Stokes

Further to that point of Order, I quite successfully caught your eye—

Mrs. Leah Manning

How do you know?

Mr. Stokes

Certainly I did. How does the hon. Lady know I did not? With great respect, I submit it has always been the custom of this House that, if a supplementary question is put and another hon. Member wishes to supplement what has been said in that supplementary question, if he can succeed in catching your eye, Mr. Speaker, he has every right to do so.

Mrs. Manning

Further to that point of Order. Has it not always been the rule in this House that you, Mr. Speaker, indicate when a Member has caught your eye—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]; otherwise we might all be making speeches at the same time?

Mr. Stokes

That is town council stuff.

Mr. Speaker

It very often happens when a Member wants to throw in some rather difficult question before the answer is made. It happens time and again on both sides.

Mr. Mayhew

The answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Luton (Mr. Warbey) is "Yes, Sir," and to my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes), "No, Sir."