HC Deb 29 January 1952 vol 495 cc30-2
48. Sir I. Fraser

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his recent visit to Washington.

49. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement to the House on his recent talks with President Truman.

50. Mr. Fenner Brockway

asked the Prime Minister what commitments have been made on behalf of the Government for action against China should the ceasefire negotiations in Korea fail, or if an agreement is not kept by the North Korean forces.

54. Mr. M. Philips Price

asked the Prime Minister whether the Government's proposal that a United States of America force should assist in the defence of the Canal Zone refers to the immediate situation or to the time after the proposed Four-Power Agreement with Egypt has been concluded.

The Prime Minister

I had thought that it would be more convenient for the House if I dealt with all these matters and others in opening the Debate on Foreign Affairs which is to begin on Tuesday next. All points could then be thrashed out in immediate discussion and there would be no need to interrupt the most important debate now impending on the proposals to be put forward by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

As, however, I learn it is the wish of the Opposition that some statement should be made dealing with the particular issues mentioned in the Questions to which I have referred, I should be prepared to make a preliminary statement to the House tomorrow before the debate on the financial and economic situation is resumed.

Sir I. Fraser

Would that be following Questions?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. It would follow Questions and would, of course, to that extent postpone the discussion to take place on what we are to hear about today.

Mr. C. R. Attlee

Will it include a statement with regard to the present position in Persia?

The Prime Minister

I had not contemplated that I should include that in the brief Parliamentary statement which I will make tomorrow. The whole debate on foreign affairs will take place next week. No doubt these matters must be considered, but I had no special announcement to make in relation to Persia in my statement on the American visit.

Mr. Attlee

I was understanding that the right hon. Gentleman would deal broadly with the matters discussed with the American Government, and I take it that Persia was one of the matters which was discussed.

The Prime Minister

If I am to deal fully with all these matters I shall certainly require to trench quite lengthily upon the time of the House tomorrow. I thought it would be more convenient to deal with these matters in a debate, when I should open and when any criticism could immediately be made or further questions asked.

It is entirely a matter of the convenience of the House, but it seemed to me not entirely in accord with that convenience that the important financial and economic issues which now have to be discussed should be completely interrupted by another topic equally, and perhaps more important, but not, as I conceive it, to be affected in urgency by the difference between this Tuesday and the next Tuesday.

Mr. Attlee

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that on some matters there is considerable anxiety about what took place on the other side of the Atlantic?

The Prime Minister

Yes, and it is on those points about which there is considerable anxiety that I propose, in a comparatively few sentences, to endeavour to enlighten the House, and, I trust, relieve the anxieties which prevail.