HC Deb 12 March 1951 vol 485 cc1062-3
50. Mr. T. Reid

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the fact that Britain is bound by treaty to come to the aid of Egypt if attacked, he will ask the Egyptian Government to desist from its demand that British troops at the Suez Canal should leave Egypt, since that is the place which they and Egyptian forces might have to defend in a sudden emergency.

The Minister of State (Mr. Younger)

Both His Majesty's Government and the Egyptian Government are very conscious of the need to ensure the proper defence of this area, and the discussions to which my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary referred in his answer to a question by the hon. Member for Hitchin (Mr. Fisher) on 29th January are aimed particularly at reconciling the need for active defence measures in peace-time with the political difficulties raised in Egypt by the presence of foreign military forces in their territory.

Mr. T. Reid

Is the Minister aware that if our troops were removed from Egypt it would cause consternation in Egypt, especially among politicians?

Mr. Younger

I am aware that this is a very important and complicated matter, but I cannot go further than what I have said while these discussions are in progress.

Mr. Eden

Will the hon. Member represent to the Foreign Secretary, whom I am sorry to see leaving the Chamber during Foreign Office Questions, that the question of the hon. Member represents views strongly held by hon. Members on both sides of the House?

Mr. Younger

I will certainly take that into account.

Sir W. Smithers

May I ask whether the Minister will communicate with an Egyptian in Cairo called Galal Hussein Bey, who has taken a leading part in Egypt in trying to settle the differences between the two countries so that the matters in question can be more easily settled?