HC Deb 03 November 1948 vol 457 cc848-9
32. Mr. Scott-Elliot

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action he is taking concerning British oil refineries at Haifa seized by the Jews on 22nd July last.

Mr. Bevin

His Majesty's Consul-General at Haifa reported that on 17th July a Jewish force entered the Haifa refinery for the purpose of ensuring that the remaining stocks of crude oil on the spot were refined. Mr. Marriott entered a strong protest against the action of the Jewish authorities in entering the refinery, giving instructions to the Iraq Petroleum Company to pump crude oil to the Consolidated Refineries installation and in instructing the latter to refine the crude oil so received. On behalf of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and of either or both of the companies concerned, he reserved all rights in the matter. I understand that the refinery, which is not now functioning, is, undamaged' and that some 200 local employees of the Consolidated Refineries are employed on maintenance work on the site.

Mr. Scott-Elliot

Is it not desirable in the national interest that oil should be refined in this factory? Surely, that can go on under the new Palestinian Government just as under any other Government?

Mr. Bevin

There are lots of difficulties in the way.