HC Deb 08 December 1952 vol 509 c16
18. Mr. S. Silverman

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what discussions or negotiations are now proceeding with the United States State Department with a view to transferring the rights and interests of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in the Persian oilfields and refinery at Abadan to a group of United States oil companies.

Mr. Eden

None, Sir.

Mr. Silverman

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that rumours to the effect set out in my Question have become very widespread in recent days? Will he assure the House that the Government have no such intention as that implied in the Question? Can he further say whether he proposes to make a statement as to what the Government's ultimate policy in this matter is likely to be?

Mr. Eden

It was because I had heard these rumours that I was glad the hon. Gentleman put his Question on the Order Paper and I was glad to be able to say "None." I do not think I can improve on that answer. I propose to make a statement at the end of Questions, in reply to a Written Question, about the disposal of oil, which the hon. Gentleman will understand is different from his Question and on which I think some clarification of our position is also required.

Mr. Harold Davies

In view of the paramount importance of oil to the modern world, will the right hon. Gentleman try, via the United Nations, to see whether we can get a regional pact for the Middle East by which this oil could be exploited by technicians for the benefit of the whole of the peoples and so that the native people would get the economic value and price for the oil?

Mr. Eden

That is quite a different question from that on the Order Paper, which asks if we are transferring our interests to the United States, and the answer to which is that we are not doing anything of the kind.