HC Deb 03 December 1951 vol 494 cc2024-5
61. Mr. I. Mikardo

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many members of the Egyptian armed forces are at present under training or instruction in Great Britain.

Mr. Eden

The figures are, at the moment:

  • Navy: 6 officers, 12 ratings.
  • Army: 11 officers, no other ranks.
  • Air Force: 14 officers, 8 non-commissioned officers.

Mr. Mikardo

Why are we continuing to give this assistance to the Egyptian Government, which is so openly and flagrantly defying us and our interests? Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that, in the last Parliament, he himself warmly, though rather belatedly, supported my protest at this action, and will he not now practise a little of what he preached when he was in Opposition?

Mr. Eden

I have no recollection of entering into this question in any speech of mine, but, in point of fact, it is under consideration. There are other matters to be borne in mind, amongst which is the position that exists at the present time, in which the Egyptian Army—curiously enough, as hon. Members may think—is amongst the most friendly elements of the population in Egypt. I have to bear all these elements in mind.

Mr. C. J. M. Alport

Would my right hon. Friend consider, with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War, the whole policy of training foreign officers at our Staff and other establishments, in view of the fact that it provides very easy access for these officers to information which it is not always desirable they should possess?

Mr. Eden

That is a wider question, but I would say to my hon. Friend that, very often, we get a pretty good return from these contacts.