HC Deb 21 March 1956 vol 550 cc1235-7
36. Mr. Langford-Holt

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what decisions have been reached by Her Majesty's Government, in consultation with the Governments of the United States of America and France, on the means of implementing the Tripartite Agreement on Israel signed in 1950.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

Discussions are proceeding satisfactorily. For obvious reasons, I cannot disclose what measures are being discussed.

Mr. Langford-Holt

Bearing in mind that one of the dangers in this matter is the fact that neither side has clearly understood that the Tripartite Declaration of 1950 means exactly what it says, can my right hon. and learned Friend say to what extent he has taken steps to see that these decisions are made as quickly as possible so that both sides may clearly understand the implications?

Mr. Lloyd

As for both sides understanding the implications, I did my best in my discussions with the leaders of both Egypt and Israel to make them quite clear. I think it is difficult ever to envisage the publication of the measures which are contemplated, but these discussions are proceeding satisfactorily.

Mr. Younger

In view of the fact that it is now reported in the Press that the United States is referring the Arab-Israel dispute to the Security Council of the United Nations, will the Foreign Secretary say, first, whether Her Majesty's Government are in agreement with this step; secondly, whether we may take it that the question of aggression on these frontiers and the action to be taken in the event of aggression will be one of the subjects to come up before the Security Council; and, thirdly, in that event does it not mean that the Soviet Union will be associated with the discussion?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that goes considerably wide of the question on the Order Paper. With regard to what the United States is doing, that has the full approval of Her Majesty's Government. As far as the nature of the discussions is concerned, I think the right hon. Gentleman had better wait to see the form of resolution which will be put forward.

Mr. Shinwell

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman read some of the reports which seem to indicate apprehension on the part of the leaders of the State of Israel? I believe that the Prime Minister of Israel himself has expressed rather disquieting opinions about the position. In view of those apprehensions, could the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is possible to expedite- a decision in order to prevent any aggression?

Mr. Lloyd

I am aware of those apprehensions. They were expressed to me personally. With them in view, we are seeking to accelerate these discussions, which, as I have said, are proceeding satisfactorily.

Mr. Gaitskell

The right hon. and learned Gentleman has already answered a supplementary question about the reference of this dispute to the United Nations. Will he give the House an assurance that if it is referred to the United Nations, nevertheless that in no way undermines or weakens our obligations under the Tripartite Declaration?

Mr. Lloyd

That is certainly the case. We stand by the spirit and the letter of our obligations under the Tripartite Declaration, which also indicated that we seek to work within the United Nations.

Mr. Silverman

Does the right hon. Gentleman think it either sensible or practicable to endeavour to deal with this inflammatory situation or dangerous situation without attempting to reconcile our interests in that part of the world with the interests of other people, notably the Soviet Union? Should he not make every possible effort to draw the Soviet Union into discussions about the present situation in that area?

Mr. Lloyd

The forthcoming Security Council debate will provide such an opportunity.