HC Deb 16 February 1954 vol 523 cc1794-5
18. Mr. H. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is now in a position to make a full report upon the disappearance of 22800177 Acting Bombardier R. W. Pyper of the 71st H.A.A. Regiment, Royal Artillery, following a hostile attack on Monday, 11th January, 1954, on the Old Cairo Road, Fayid.

Mr. Head

I have not yet received the full court of inquiry proceedings. I can, however, say that on 11th January this soldier was driving in a truck in a convoy of three vehicles between Tel-el-Kebir and Fayid. Both he andthe driver disappeared when this truck, after falling behind the convoy, was seized by a gang of Egyptians. The most careful investigation was made and is continuing, but I regret there is still no news of these men. I would offer my deepest sympathy to their parents in their anxiety. They will be informed as soon as anything further is known.

Mr. Johnson

Will my right hon. Friend tell the House what co-operation he has had from the Egyptian Government? If the answer is "None,"will he bear in mind that serious incidents of this nature are having a very harmful effect on the minds of parents of National Service men? Will he not consider taking much more aggressive and drastic action against the Egyptian Goavernment?

Mr. Head

Her Majesty's representative in Cairo has made strong representations about this and other matters to the Egyptian Government.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the Secretary of State ask the Foreign Office to make it perfectly plain to the Egyptians that those who most want an agreement on the Suez question find that such incidents as this are a great obstacle to any progress?

Mr. Head

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Dugdale

What help have we actually received from the Egyptian Government?

Mr. Head

I speak only for my Department. As far as the finding of these two men is concerned, I am not aware of any assistance that we have had.