HC Deb 31 January 1949 vol 460 cc1360-1
18. Mr. Orbach

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the efforts he has made to secure the release of British citizens interned by the Egyptian authorities.

Mr. McNeil

Yes, Sir. Twenty-one British subjects have been arrested and detained by the Egyptian authorities since martial law was declared in Egypt on 15th May last. Representations have been frequently made on this subject by His Majesty's Embassy in Cairo to the Egyptian authoritites, and I also took the opportunity recently in Paris to bring to the attention of the Egyptian Foreign Minister the grave concern of His Majesty's Government at the detention of British subjects without any specific charge being presented against them. Twelve of those interned have been released but nine are still in detention.

Mr. Orbach

Will my right hon. Friend ask his right hon. Friend whether, in the negotiations which are proceeding at Rhodes, he will make the strongest possible representations to both sides, in the hope of getting the release of all British subjects?

Mr. McNeil

I am doubtful about our status in the Rhodes talks, but I do assure my hon. Friend that we shall continue to press this subject, and, indeed, His Majesty's Ambassador has been instructed to make further and forcible representations himself.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Have these gentlemen United Kingdom nationality, or the nationality of some other part of the Empire?

Mr. McNeil

The men whom we are discussing are subjects of His Majesty.

Mr. Frank Byers

How does it come about that we continue to give military assistance to the Egyptians while they are, in fact, detaining British citizens?