HC Deb 08 March 1954 vol 524 cc1712-3
5. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what complaints he has received of interference with the undisputed and efficient passage of British merchant ships through the Suez Canal; and what steps he is taking to obviate any such interference.

Mr. Eden

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport has received a number of representations from the shipping interests concerned. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State informed the House on 17th February, the matter is now before the Security Council and Her Majesty's Government cannot anticipate the Council's ruling.

Mr. Hughes

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that this may have a very prejudicial effect on British trade and contacts with the Middle and Far East, and would it not be a more direct way of resolving these differences to have a conference between the Powers actually concerned?

Mr. Eden

If I thought that that would get better results, I would be very glad to do it, but the matter is before the Security Council, and that is where it rests at the moment.

Mr. Shinwell

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the proceedings before the Security Council are likely to be expedited, or will there be a long delay?

Mr. Eden

I rather hope that some finding will be given by the Security Council within the next week or so.