HC Deb 19 October 1954 vol 531 cc1045-6
Mr. Clement Davies

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make on the negotiations with the Egyptian Government on the Suez Canal Zone Base.

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir. I understand that the United Kingdom Delegation, led by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, has reached agreement on all points with the Egyptian Government. It is hoped that the new agreement will be signed in Cairo this evening. The full texts will be laid before the House as a White Paper at the earliest possible moment.

I am sure the House will welcome the conclusion of this difficult and complex negotiation. Her Majesty's Government believe that it will open a new chapter in our relations with Egypt and that it will serve the cause of peace and stability throughout the Middle East.

Mr. Davies

While agreeing with the right hon. Gentleman's expression of the hope that this agreement will serve the cause of peace, may I ask him whether, in these new circumstances, the position of Israel has been considered and borne in mind, and whether it will be borne in mind as well as, indeed, the position generally in the Middle East?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir. I think I remarked before that I hoped that the result of the agreement will be that we shall be able to move forward to a general relaxation of tension throughout the Middle East. I do not believe that we could have made any progress as long as the whole situation was complicated by the Egyptian question. Now there is an agreement, we will do our best.

Mr. I. O. Thomas

Does the Foreign Secretary mean by his last statement but one that he and the Government have the full and unqualified approval of the whole of the Government supporters on the benches behind him?

Mr. Eden

Oh, yes; we are quite happy about that.