§ 30. Mr. Fenner Brockway
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if Her Majesty's Government recognises the legality of the nationalisation of oil in Persia in the same terms as stated by the preceding Government at the time of the Mission of the right hon. Member for Ipswich to Teheran.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Eden)
The present Government, as I understand their predecessors also, are prepared to recognise the 346 principle of the nationalisation of oil in Persia within the framework of an arrangement which, on the basis of justice and equity, satisfies the interests of the parties concerned.
§ Mr. Brockway
While appreciating that answer, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will make it known in Persia, where there seems to be some doubt about it?
§ Mr. Stokes
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he means that in fact what Her Majesty's Government now recognise—still recognise—is what we know as the March nationalisation law and that they do not yet accept the April nationalisation law, because that has an essential difference in Persia?
§ Mr. Eden
I have been very careful in my answer. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, there are considerable legal complications in this matter. As I understand the position, certainly neither this Government nor, from my researches through the documents, the previous Government have recognised the legality of the action hitherto taken by the Mossadeq Government. What we have said, and what I repeat now, is that we recognise the principle of nationalisation of oil subject to certain conditions being fulfilled.
§ Mr. Stokes
Yes, Iknow, but, for the purpose of clarification, will the Foreign Secretary say that that in effect means the acceptance of the March law in Persia and not the acceptance of the April law, which is a very different one? The whole of the negotiations in 1951 were carried out on the basis of the March nationalisation law.
§ Mr. Eden
The matter is slightly more complicated than that. The nationalisation matter is inevitably connected with the question of compensation. Now that I am embarking on these new negotiations with the Persian Government I do not think that it is desirable to raise that in an acute form, but I have to safeguard our national position and that of the company, and that is why I used the words which I have employed.