HC Deb 19 June 1952 vol 502 cc1555-6
Mr. J. Amery

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make regarding the tanker "Rose Mary," carrying i,000 tons of Persian oil.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Eden)

Yes, Sir. The tanker "Rose Mary" entered Aden harbour on the evening of 17th June. I understand that immediately after the vessel's arrival, a representative of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company asked the master to deliver to him the oil which had been loaded in Persia on the grounds that this oil belongs to the Company. The master refused and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company therefore began an action in the Aden courts to recover the oil and obtained ex parte a temporary injunction prohibiting the removal of the vessel's cargo of oil from Aden.

I am told that the parties concerned have been asked to appear before the courts today to show cause why the temporary injunction should not continue until a final decision is reached in the Aden courts. A later report which has just reached me indicates that the injunction detaining the cargo was continued today, when the case came up again before the local court. Orders were issued for the defence to file written statements of their case before 16th July.

Mr. Amery

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there will be widespread satisfaction at the news that the Persian Government are not to be allowed to enjoy the fruits of the robbery they perpetrated?

Lieut-Colonel Lipton

On a point of order. Is it not a fact that this matter is still, in a sense, sub judice and that, therefore, it is highly reprehensible that comments of the kind just made should be made?

Mr. Speaker

That is the case. I would remind the House that this matter is now before the British court in Aden and that, therefore, comment on it is not desirable.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

May I, apart from any legal matter, ask my right hon. Friend whether at any time the Royal Air Force was in contact with this ship during her voyage and also why she went to Aden?

Mr. Eden

As regards the first part of the question, the Royal Air Force was not in contact with the ship at any time during her voyage. As regards the second part, I would not know.

Mr. Shinwell

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen a statement in the Press which alleges that two Americans who are engaged in the oil trade are behind this transaction? Is he able to confirm that?

Mr. Eden

I have seen a number of statements in the Press, including some that the ship was just off Suez when she was fortunately some miles from Aden. I have not had the opportunity to check the statement to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. I should like to add, if I may with respect to your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, that it must be remembered that an interim injunction has already been issued by The Hague Court itself.