HC Deb 20 December 1955 vol 547 cc1839-41
48. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether, at his forthcoming meeting with President Eisenhower, he will seek President Eisenhower's agreement that the two Governments should propose at the United Nations the stationing of a United Nations police force on both sides of the Israel-Arab frontiers pending a peaceful settlement.

52. Mr. Beswick

asked the Prime Minister whether he will propose to President Eisenhower, during his talks, that there should be some international police force responsible to the United Nations, based in the Middle East, to keep the peace along the Israel-Arab frontiers.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend hopes at his forthcoming meeting with President Eisenhower to have a full discussion on the problems of the Middle East, but he would not wish to commit himself to any specific proposal in advance.

Mr. Henderson

Will the right hon. Gentleman ask the Prime Minister to bear in mind the desirability of taking effective preventive action rather than running the risk of a serious situation developing which might call for action under the Tripartite Declaration?

Mr. Butler

Certainly. I am sure my right hon. Friend will pay attention to any points put in the House preparatory to his visit to the United States of America. There are, however, severe difficulties about the actual proposal made by the right hon. and learned Member himself.

Mr. Beswick

Is it not a fact that, sooner or later on this small world of ours, we shall have to have some form of international police force to keep the peace in these trouble spots? Ought not this country to be giving a lead in this matter?

Mr. Butler

My right hon. Friend will pay due attention to all points put by hon. Members, realising the extreme gravity of this problem in the area concerned. I cannot go further than that today.

Mr. Wade

Will not the right hon. Gentleman agree that even if it were not practicable to provide an international police force along the whole boundary between Israel and the adjoining Arab States, it might help to reduce the chances of conflict if there were an international police force—and not merely observers—between Israel and Egypt until such time as an amicable settlement is reached?

Mr. Butler

The hon. Member is right. The length of the border is very considerable, running into several hundreds of miles. That is precisely one of the problems involved. Otherwise, I cannot go further than what I have said, namely, that my right hon. Friend will pay attention to all the points raised.

Mr. Gaitskell

Can we take it that these discussions with President Eisenhower will cover the problem of how best to implement the tripartite guarantee of 1950?

Mr. Butler

I cannot give a specific assurance that a particular item will be discussed, but the right hon. Gentleman may feel satisfied that this is an issue of such importance that every aspect, such as he has raised, is bound to come up for consideration.