§ 4. Mr. G. Jeger
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Egyptian Government are now allowing British tankers to pass through the Suez Canal.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
Large numbers of British tankers have been and are still passing to and fro through the Suez Canal. I presume therefore that the hon. Member is referring to the passage through the Canal of tankers bound for Haifa. So far as I am aware, the situation in this respect has not changed since the reply given by my right hon. Friend to the hon. Members for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) and Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner), on 30th January.
§ Mr. Jeger
Is nothing being done to force the passage of these tankers through to Haifa? Is not the Minister aware that his right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, when he was in opposition, roared like a rabbit for resolute action, and even said that he would force them through with the protection of the Royal Navy? Is nothing being done to implement those promises and threats made by the Foreign Secretary when in opposition?
§ Sir H. Williams
Have not we a statutory right to take our ships through the Suez Canal, a right established long before the United Nations was ever thought of, and why does not Her Majesty's Government assert their rights in this matter?
§ Mr. Shinwell
Is it not true to say that these general negotiations between Her Majesty's Government and Egypt have been going on for many months and there does not appear likely to be an immediate solution? Why is it necessary to bring in other countries to solve a problem which primarily concerns only three countries, the State of Israel, Egypt, and ourselves? What is holding this up? Will not the Government be forthcoming about it?