HC Deb 19 March 1956 vol 550 cc804-5
8. Mr. Philips Price

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he took during his recent visit to Iraq to discuss methods of strengthening the Bagdad Pact, both militarily and economically; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I had valuable talks in Bagdad with His Majesty King Feisal, with the Prime Minister and with other Members of the Iraqi Government on a number of matters. I also attended an informal meeting of the Bagdad Pact Council. These discussions were largely concerned with measures for making the Pact a success. Like my meetings with leaders in Iran and Turkey, they revealed a robust support of the Pact. I should prefer not to say more at present since the April meetings of the Bagdad Pact Council and Economic Committee will provide more suitable opportunities for discussing detailed proposals on methods of strengthening both the military and the economic sides of the Pact.

Mr. Price

With the object of strengthening Iraq and making her a strong member of the Bagdad Pact Council, will the Foreign Secretary bear in mind the great importance of assisting her particularly in such matters as technical education, in which she is backward?

Mr. Lloyd

I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman that we can play a very useful part in the development of the economic side of the Bagdad Pact, by means of the technical assistance to which he refers.

Mr. Fenner Brockway

Does not the Foreign Secretary's visit to the Middle East indicate that the Bagdad Pact is just as much a failure from the diplomatic point of view as is S.E.A.T.O. in South-East Asia?

Mr. Lloyd

If the hon. Gentleman had been with me to Karachi and then to Bagdad, Teheran and Ankara, he would have formed a totally different impression.