HC Deb 19 December 1956 vol 562 cc1239-40
6. Major Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he proposes to take to safeguard the businesses and private property of British subjects in Egypt.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

At the request of Her Majesty's Government and with the agreement of the Egyptian Government, the Swiss Government are acting as Protecting Power for British interests in Egypt. I would also refer to the Answer which my hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Remnant) on 17th December.

Major Wall

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that a large number of British subjects who have returned to this country from Egypt have had confiscated not only their businesses, but personal and private property? Is not that an example of the completely uncivilised behaviour of the Egyptian Government, and will my right hon. and learned Friend press either for restitution or compensation?

Mr. Lloyd

I agree with my hon. and gallant Friend. This is a matter which causes us grave anxiety. We are trying in a variety of ways to see that the matter is handled properly. One of the difficulties is that the Egyptian Government have not yet agreed to appoint an official agent to take charge of the belongings which British subjects leaving Egypt have been forced to leave behind. I hope that that irregularity will rapidly be put right.

Mr. Janner

While the right hon. and learned Gentleman is dealing with that matter, will he also deal with the question of the sequestration of the effects and the expulsion of people on the grounds of their race or religion, and raise the matter with the United Nations with a view to seeing that the type of Nazi methods being used now in Egypt should be stopped?

Mr. Lloyd

I should certainly like to consider that matter.