HC Deb 26 October 1953 vol 518 cc2409-10
6. Mr. T. Reid

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the position at the Buraimi oasis in the territory of the Sultan of Muscat.

Mr. Eden

Discussions have been proceeding between the two Governments concerned and some progress has been made. Both parties have now agreed in principle to arbitration. It has, however, been difficult to establish conditions in which such arbitration might proceed. I am, none the less, hopeful that a solution will be found.

I should perhaps add a correction upon a point of fact in the hon. Gentleman's Question. The greater part of the Buraimi oasis belongs to the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi, who is under British protection. Only two of the eight villages in the oasis including Hamasa belong to the Sultan of Muscat, an independent Ruler, who has asked Her Majesty's Government to act on his behalf in the dispute.

Mr. Reid

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there was any dispute about this oasis until the rumour cropped up that it contained oil?

Mr. Eden

It might conceivably be that there are interests other than water in the matter now.