HC Deb 30 January 1956 vol 548 cc578-9
6. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will approach the Israeli Government about the possibility of allowing us facilities for a military base at Haifa.

Mr. Nutting

No, Sir.

Mr. Johnson

Would not my right hon. hon. Friend agree that a base at Haifa made available to the signatories to the 1950 Tripartite Declaration would show both the Israelis and the Arabs that there would be effective action taken in the event of an act of aggression, and as such would be a very considerable contribution to the stability of the Middle East?

Mr. Nutting

I always respect the opinions of my hon. Friend, but on this occasion I have to disagree with him.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that although the Israeli Government could not possibly make a suggestion of this kind for fear of a rebuff, almost everyone in Israel would welcome such a suggestion, were it made plain that we really intended to take action as a result of the Tripartite Declaration if there were an invasion of Israeli territory?

Mr. Nutting

I do not necessarily dispute the view of the hon. and learned Gentleman as to the feelings of the Israelis in this matter, but, as he will not have failed to notice, there are other countries and other peoples involved in the situation, and the proposal which he makes might very well make the situation more and not less difficult.

Mr. Patrick Maitland

Would my right hon. Friend look at the point that if there were a base at Haifa, it could be presented to the Arab countries as an influence restraining Israel from aggression against her neighbours?