HC Deb 25 January 1954 vol 522 cc1443-4
25 Mr. Patrick Maitland

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) how many attacks were made on British personnel in the Suez Canal Zone in 1953 and this year, with clubs, knives or other non-explosive weapons;

(2) how many British subjects have been killed or have died as a result of wounds in the Suez Canal Zone in 1953, and this year;

(3) how many attacks involving the use of explosives were made against British personnel or property in the Suez Canal Zone in 1953, and this year up to the present date.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The figures are as follow. Attacks with explosives: Last year, one (which was unsuccessful); this year, none.

Attacks with non-explosive weapons: Last year, 254; this year, 20. Killed, or died of wounds: Last year, 11; this year, three.

Mr. Maitland

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that this pitiful catalogue of humiliation will be received with a sense of outrage by the public in this country, and that there is a widespread demand that we should no longer negotiate with Egypt under duress?

Mr. Lloyd

Her Majesty's Government do make special representations on these matters. Early in December, as a result of representations made, the situation did improve considerably and there were no major incidents for nearly a month. Latterly, in the last few days, they have broken out again and we are quite certain that it lies within the power of the Egyptian authorities to prevent them if they so wish. Strong representations in that sense have been made to the Egyptian Government.

Mr. Amery

Can my right hon. and learned Friend say whether we have made it clear to General Neguib's Government that we cannot continue negotiations if these attacks continue in any way?

Mr. Lloyd

We have made it quite clear that it is quite impossible for satisfactory agreement to be reached between the two countries while this kind of behaviour continues.

29. Sir E. Boyle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the murder of a British soldier on the Moascar-Port Said treaty road on Tuesday, 19th January; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I think my hon. Friend is referring to an incident which took place on 18th January, when a W.D. vehicle travelling to Port Said was attacked by a civilian car in the Kantara area. As a result of this attack the soldier escort died of his wounds.

Her Majesty's Ambassador in Cairo has made a vigorous protest to the Egyptian Government about this and other recent deplorable incidents.

Sir E. Boyle

Will my right hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that this utterly deplorable piece of thuggery has caused the greatest dismay to those of us who still believe that hopes of agreement between us and Egypt may be achieved?

Mr. Lloyd

I appreciate that.