HC Deb 27 February 1952 vol 496 cc1140-1
44. Major Tufton Beamish

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the composition of the delegation to certain Arab countries led by Sir Roger Makins; which countries it will visit; for what purposes; in what form its report will be made; and whether any parts of it will be made public.

Mr. Nutting

Sir Roger Makins is accompanied by another member of the Foreign Office staff and by representatives of the Treasury and of the Bank of England. The territories which he is visiting are Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Sharjah, Dubai, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, where he has paid a call on King Ibn Saud.

The object of the mission is to enable a senior official of the Foreign Office to study at first hand and to discuss with those Rulers of the Persian Gulf to whom Her Majesty's Government have special responsibilities and with their principal advisers, the general situation in the area and in particular the problems arising out of the recent greatly increased production of oil in the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.

On his return, Sir Roger Makins will report to my right hon. Friend and he will consider whether any parts of his report can be made public.

Major Beamish

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the previous Government showed very little realisation of the fast growing political and economic importance of these friendly Arab countries and that the steps which he has now taken in this direction are most welcome?

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

Since the wise investment in, and the immense revenues which are coming from these territories by way of foreign royalties is a matter of great public importance, which will certainly affect the prospects of peace and progress in the Middle East, will the hon. Gentleman ask his right hon. Friend to consider favourably the publication of those parts of the report of Sir Roger Makins which deal with that aspect?

Mr. Nutting

I will certainly ask my right hon. Friend to consider that request.

Mr. M. Philips Price

May I ask whether the delegation will discuss with the Government of Iraq the future of the Habbaniyah and Basra airfields.

Mr. Nutting

I cannot answer that question without notice, but I have no doubt that all these matters have been discussed between Sir Roger Makins and the Iraq Government.