HC Deb 21 March 1951 vol 485 cc2408-9
33. Mr. de Chair

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the strategic importance of the Persian oil supplies, His Majesty's Government will offer a military guarantee to that country as a deterrent to any potential aggressor.

Mr. H. Morrison

It is the policy of His Majesty's Government to encourage an independent, stable and prosperous Persia. The House will recall that on 19th May, 1950, my predecessor issued a statement in which he said that His Majesty's Government were vitally concerned in the independence, integrity and security of Persia, and were determined to continue their policy of direct support to Persia and to other countries which were striving, through military and economic efforts, to safeguard their independence and territorial integrity.

I welcome this opportunity to reaffirm that that statement still represents the policy of His Majesty's Government, and I do not think that any further assurance is necessary. Unfortunately, the Persians are at the moment not giving us much encouragement.

Mr. de Chair

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the present Prime Minister of Persia became a national hero in 1946 because of the stand which he took at Lake Success against the Russian attempt to annex Azerbaijan, and that there is an immense amount of good will in Persia towards the West which needs the evidence of a slightly more vigorous determination to resist aggression than is given in the statement which the right hon. Gentleman has just made?

Mr. Morrison

I am much obliged to the hon. Member. I can assure him that I will keep those aspects of the matter in mind.