HC Deb 13 November 1956 vol 560 cc743-5
37. Mr. Lewis

asked the Prime Minister whether he will immediately call a conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers to discuss the Egyptian situation and arrange for a meeting to follow with the President of the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, France, Israel and Egypt.

The Prime Minister (Sir Anthony Eden)

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the explanation of the Government's views made in the course of the debate on the Amendment to the Gracious Speech on 8th November.

Mr. Lewis

In view of the fact that we cannot get satisfactory replies from any of the Ministers, I find that it is hopeless and useless to put any further supplementary questions.

The Prime Minister

For which relief, much thanks.

43. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Prime Minister whether he will give an assurance that Her Majesty's Government will refrain from engaging in negotiations with Egypt on the Suez dispute before British and French forces have been withdrawn from Egyptian territory.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. Zilliacus

Does that mean that the Prime Minister adheres to his original purpose of trying to use the occupation of Egyptian territory as a way of negotiating under duress, in which case, he is violating the Charter again?

The Prime Minister

It does not mean anything of the kind. The hon. Member ought by now to know that negotiation implies some willingness of both sides to meet.

Mr. Gaitskell

While it is fairly certain that Egypt would not be willing to negotiate on the Suez Canal question so long as British and French forces are in Egypt, can the Prime Minister say how he proposes, nevertheless, that negotiation on the Canal issue should be resumed between Egypt and the Canal Users' Association?

The Prime Minister

That is not the Question on the Paper. I was asked what my attitude to direct negotiations with Egypt was. I replied, "No, Sir." The right hon. Gentleman knows that the future of the Canal is one of the matters at present being handled by the United Nations and one of the matters which my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary has been discussing in Washington.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

May we take it from what the Prime Minister has just said that the Government now intend to support the negotiations, when they are started again in the United Nations, on the basis of the Secretary-General's letter of 24th October?

The Prime Minister

That goes far beyond the Question on the Paper. I should like to see that written down.

45. Mr. Harold Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now publish a White Paper giving the account of the talks with the Government of France leading to British and French intervention in Egypt.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Douglas Dodds-Parker)

As my right hon. and learned Friend has stated several times in this House recently, confidential discussions with other Governments must remain confidential.

Mr. Davies

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Government would have the 100 per cent. support of the Opposition and of millions of people who voted for them if the interests of Britain were in jeopardy and they believed that a war was just? Does he not realise that this country is being accused all over the world of collusion with the French? If it is not true, it is the duty of the Government to let the people know the truth, and to publish the facts.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

If the hon. Member has not read the speeches made on 31st October, I will see that a copy of the OFFICIAL REPORT is sent to him.

Mr. Paget

Does the hon. Gentleman regard as confidential conversations which have already been published in both the Observer and The Times?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Yes, I do, because I do not say that they are accurately published, even in those reputable newspapers.