HC Deb 30 October 1956 vol 558 cc1341-82

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—[Mr. Heath.]

8.0 p.m.

The Prime Minister (Sir Anthony Eden)

Sir, as we undertook earlier, we now resume this important and grave discussion. I have no more detailed information to give the House as yet, but it may be that some may come through during the course of the debate, in which case my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary—who will wind up the discussion ; I thought that that would be the best way to handle the situation—would give the House the very latest information towards the end of the debate.

If the House will allow me, I should like to address myself briefly to one or two points raised during the earlier discussion this afternoon. I should like to begin by dealing with an important point which the Leader of the Opposition himself put forward—that is, about the present situation under the Tripartite Declaration. I think that that Declaration has to be carefully examined and understood, because I am not sure that it is understood altogether, so far as it concerns Egypt—and I am dealing with Egypt at the moment.

Our action under the Tripartite Declaration in relation to Egypt must, surely, be governed by the fact that Egypt has taken as her stand that she will not accept the implications of the Tripartite Declaration. The Egyptian Press has continuously, as the House knows, denounced the Declaration—and everyone knows that the Press of Egypt does not exactly say things unless someone asks it to say them. The Egyptian Foreign Minister also made it clear to us that the Tripartite Declaration is what he called a unilateral declaration, giving rise, he said, to no contractual obligations, and giving the three Powers no rights to intervene.

I think that that has to be borne in mind when considering what, if any, are our obligations in relation to Egypt now under the Tripartite Declaration. Indeed, there is more to it even than that, because I should have informed the House—I should have recollected before, because I had something to do with those negotiations—that when we were negotiating for the agreement on the Canal base in 1954, Egypt insisted on an agreed interpretation of the Treaty. Hon. Members will find that at the back of the White Paper which was published at the time the Treaty was issued.

In that agreed interpretation, Egypt insisted specifically on making it clear that we would not have the right to reactivate the base in the event of an attack on Egypt, or on any other Arab State, by Israel. The only implication of that must surely be that Egypt did not want the three-Power Declaration to apply to her in respect of a conflict with Israel. I do not know what other interpretation one can place both on her Press and on what her Foreign Minister said, and on what she asked for at the time when the Treaty was signed, in 1954. I think that all those things must be borne in mind ; that her position under the Tripartite Declaration is not the same as that of other countries, notably Israel.

We have also to bear in mind, when considering all this, that since 1951 Egypt is in breach of a Security Council Resolution, to which reference has been made several times this afternoon. We have to bear in mind the continued threats, and they cannot be called less, by Egyptian leaders against Israel, the acquisition of large quantities of offensive arms, and last—and, perhaps, in some ways, psychologically, at least, most important of all—the recent agreement, arrangement, perhaps, I should call it, which results in the Egyptian chief of the general staff, I think he is called, being the joint commander, as it were, or the co-ordinator of plans and commands for Egypt, for Syria and for Jordan. That, Sir, I, personally, thought a very grave development.

I know that we have been criticised in this House for continuing to make the payment to Jordan, as we have been doing all this time. It is perfectly reasonable to utter that criticism. On the other hand, we continued this payment because we wished to do what we could to assist Jordan to lead an independent national life, and to avoid, if I may say so bluntly, this kind of situation, in this form, arising.

Those are all factors that we cannot ignore. I state them now only because, when people talk about who is the aggressor in this very difficult business, so far as we know it at the present time, it is fair and just that all these factors should be taken into account—all of them—and not just to say, as it is said, that because one Government has taken one particular action all the rest has to be swept away. That is how the Government feel on this topic.

I want now to deal, if I may, with one or two other points which have been raised. The hon. Member for Brightside (Mr. R. E. Winterbottom) and one or two other hon. Members asked whether British troops, and other troops, will be withdrawn once the present hostilities cease. Of course that will be so ; certainly. It is our intention that they shall be withdrawn as soon as possible. The last thing that we want is an enduring commitment of that kind—the last thing.

I have emphasised that we intend their presence at key points to be merely temporary. I have also explained that the purpose of that intervention is to seek to separate the combatants, to remove the risk to free passage through the Canal, and to reduce the risk, if we can, to those voyaging through the Canal.

Naturally, we hope that compliance by both sides with our appeal will enable those two objects to be secured rapidly, and then there would clearly be no need for anything more than token forces to make sure that what was accepted by both sides was, in fact, carried out, and they would, of course, be withdrawn the moment an agreement, a settlement, was arrived at. I hope that that has met some of the points which were raised.

The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget)—and other hon. Members, I think—put to me a point. It is a completely fair point to put, but it is one which I cannot answer in any satisfactory manner. They asked me what guarantee would be given, or could be given, to Israel, if she complied with our appeal, that she would not again be subjected to continued threats. That is what I was asked. The answer is that I am not in a position to give such a guarantee.

I wish that I were. I devoutly wish that I were, but I am not. On the other hand, the object of what we are now seeking to do is to try to bring about an immediate cessation of hostilities before the situation grows more dangerous, from every point of view, owing to air activity increasing on both sides ; an immediate cessation of hostilities, which should be to everybody's interests, I think, including Israel's. At any rate, it is on that basis that we have addressed the appeal to both parties. We think that further efforts can then be made to try to find a permanent settlement of this terrible problem which has haunted us for so long—the relations between Israel and the Arab States. That, therefore, is the object which we have in mind.

I admit that the decision which Her Majesty's Government took, together with the French Government, was one which laid heavy responsibilities upon us. We thought that there was a fair and reasonable chance that these proposals might be accepted. With all respect to hon. Gentlemen, I would ask them not to make up their minds. There is a fair and reasonable chance that they might be accepted. If they were, they offer by far the best opportunity of preventing this situation from growing into a far more dangerous one, affecting the whole of the Middle East. Hon. Gentlemen may, if they like, impugn our judgment. I hope that they will not impugn our motives, because that was the decision we took and that was the spirit in which we took it.

8.10 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Gaitskell (Leeds, South)

I hope that the Prime Minister in asking us not to impugn his motives will also refrain from impugning ours and that we shall conduct this debate, even if there are differences between us, on the understanding that we are both of us in our ways wishing to say and do the right thing for our country.

We did not pursue this matter this afternoon because we felt it would be wiser to have a little time to think over what the Prime Minister said in his grave statement. We did insist on having a debate today because of the latter part of that statement. In the last paragraph or two the Prime Minister told us that the United Kingdom and French Governments had addressed communications to Egypt and Israel in which Egypt and Israel were called upon to stop all warlike action and to withdraw their military forces ten miles from the Canal.

The right hon. Gentleman went on to say—and I had better read his words : Further, in order to separate the belligerents and to guarantee freedom of transit through the Canal by the ships of all nations, we have asked the Egyptian Government to agree that Anglo-French forces should move temporarily … into key positions at Port Said, Ismailia and Suez. The Governments of Egypt and Israel have been asked to answer this communication within twelve hours. It has been made clear to them that, if at the expiration of that time one or both have not undertaken to comply with these requirements, British and French forces will intervene in whatever strength may be necessary to secure compliance. Those are very grave words indeed. They amount, coupled with what the Prime Minister said in reply to a request from us, to an ultimatum to accept the proposals of the British and French Governments and, failing that, the British and French Governments will impose a solution by force. Therefore, the possibility arises that before this House meets again British troops may be in action in Egypt. We did not feel that we could rise tonight, therefore, without a further discussion taking place.

It is not necessary for me this evening to go into the whole of the background. There will, no doubt, be other opportunities for that. I will only say just this. I recognise, as I think we all do, that Israel has been subject to considerable provocation, that there have been many raids from Jordan and Egypt and lives have been lost, that threats have been made against her, that the latest action of combining the armed forces of Syria and Egypt and Jordan is a threat, that indeed, as we have said many times before, the purchase of arms from Czechoslovakia held out a very real possibility that within a fairly short time the balance would swing heavily on the side of Egypt and the Arab States.

All that is common ground. I am bound to say that, even allowing for all that, I find it very hard to justify on the basis of the United Nations Charter or the Tripartite Declaration the action taken by Israel in entering Egypt and advancing apparently up to 70, 80, or even 100 miles. It may be said, however, that this was only a reprisal raid on a large scale, that the intention was simply to root out the bases from which the terrorist incursions into Israel took place. I do not wish this evening to attempt to judge that. I think the right place for judging the issue of whether or not there was aggression in terms of the United Nations Charter, and the exact degree of responsibility, is the Security Council of the United Nations.

I said this afternoon that we warmly welcomed the reference of this issue to the Security Council. But I had supposed that that having been so we should have heard from the Prime Minister not of independent action taken by Britain and France, but of the kind of proposals which Great Britain might be making in the Security Council. I had expected that we would be proposing, for instance, that the Israeli troops and forces should be withdrawn again within the Israeli frontiers.

I at once say that I do not think it would have been right for us to content ourselves with that unless we had said at the Security Council something else as well, namely that experience had now shown that it was not reasonable to expect the Israelis simply to return to the status quo ante, that indeed their insecurity was such that a heavy duty devolved immediately upon the United Nations to tackle once again this terribly difficult Arab-Israeli problem.

I think, in fact, that we have got to recognise, whatever the outcome may be, that the situation in which Israel was placed, in which on the one side she was told when it was a question of her ships going through the Canal that Arab States were still in a state of war with her, and on the other that if there was any kind of action of a warlike nature begun by her that was a breach of the peace, was becoming an almost impossible situation. I want to clear all that out of the way because I think it is common ground very largely between us.

Since we met in the afternoon the news has come through that the United States delegate to the United Nations has, in fact, proposed that the Israeli troops should be withdrawn, not ten miles from the Canal but within her own frontiers. One of the questions I want the Foreign Secretary to answer is whether or not that was agreed with the United States or what exactly the divergence with them is in this matter.

The difference between us—I am sorry to say this—lies in the action announced by the Prime Minister at the end of his statement which I read out at the beginning of my speech. Our first criticism of this is that it was taken independently by Britain and France at the very moment when this dispute was being referred to the Security Council. I cannot see any possible justification for that. Surely the right thing to have done would have been to have waited for the debate in the Security Council which was taking place this afternoon. [Laughter.] When hon. Members laugh at the suggestion that we should await the outcome of a debate in the Security Council, I wonder if they realise what conclusion people who listen to them draw. They draw the conclusion that hon. Members who behave in that way have simply lost faith entirely in the United Nations. I do not associate the Front Bench with this, but I warn hon. Members opposite that if they go on like that, that is the impression they will create in the country.

It is not our business to decide on our own that we should take independent action, even if it be, or appear to be, from our point of view police action. There is nothing in the United Nations Charter which justifies any nation appointing itself as world policeman. The great danger of the situation is that if we can do this so can anybody else. That is my first criticism and, I beg the Prime Minister to believe, a very grave anxiety of ours in this matter.

The second criticism is that I cannot see any legal justification for what it is proposed to do. The Prime Minister this evening gave a number of reasons why he felt the Tripartite Declaration no longer applied. He said that Egypt had denounced it. It is very odd that he should have left it until tonight to come forward with that argument. I should like the Foreign Secretary to tell us when it was that Egypt objected to the Tripartite Declaration. My recollection is that she objected from the very start to the Tripartite Declaration ; and certainly in recent years, throughout the whole period since 1950, first of all our Government and then the present Government have repeatedly pledged themslves to abide by the Tripartite Declaration. It really is not good enough to come along at this last moment and say, "Egypt is against it, and therefore we no longer support it".

The Prime Minister referred too to the Canal Zone evacuation Agreement, and he pointed out, which is perfectly correct, that there is an agreed minute which lays it down that an attack by Israel on one of the Arab States is not justification for the reoccupation of the Canal Zone by British forces. I am not very surprised at Colonel Nasser, or Colonel Neguib, whoever negotiated it, insisted on putting that in, because if that agreed minute had not been included there might have been some legal justification for immediate reoccupation of the Canal Zone in existing circumstances. It is perfectly clear that the Egyptians did not want that at all. They were, I imagine, prepared in negotiations to agree that if there were an attack from Russia from the East, which was no doubt in mind, then the reoccupation could take place, and without previous consultation—if I recollect correctly—if the attack had actually already occurred. I do not think that is a very good argument.

The other arguments are no better. The fact that the Egyptians ignored and disregarded the 1951 Resolution of the United Nations is deplorable. We have repeatedly referred to it. But it has been known for the past five years. That is again no excuse, therefore, for suddenly coming along and saying we will not apply the Tripartite Declaration.

Finally, for the Prime Minister to come and tell us that, after all, the Egyptians have been getting a lot of arms from Czechoslovakia, strikes me as almost funny when I remember the debates earlier this year, and, I think, at the conclusion of last year, in which we were protesting strongly because of the Government's refusal to allow Israel arms. For the Prime Minister now to come and defend this particular action on the ground that the Egyptians were allowed to have those arms and the Israelis were not, seems to me so feeble as an argument that I am surprised that he put it forward.

Our third criticism is that we are not satisfied with the degree of consultation which appears to have taken place either with other countries in the Commonwealth or with the United States of America. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) pressed that point this afternoon but did not get any answer. I want to ask again tonight whether the other members of the Commonwealth were consulted on this, and what was their reaction. I put this seriously because we all know what the reaction of India was in the earlier stages. [Interruption.] Hon. Members who at one time, used to be rather proud, or appeared to be proud of the Commonwealth, had better be careful when they start laughing. If they go on in that way, they will go faster towards breaking it up than anything else they could do.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)

You broke it up. You threw it away.

Mr. Gaitskell

We all know the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke), and we do not take him terribly seriously.

I would therefore ask. What consultations took place with the Commonwealth, and what was the reaction of the other Commonwealth Governments? I would ask also whether the United States is in agreement with us on this. Is America supporting us? Is she giving us her full backing? If it comes to a vote in the Security Council on our action, if it is taken, can we be sure that the United States will vote with us, or are we doing this off our own bat without bothering whether the United States is going to support us or not?

I must refer to the proposal put forward that each side should withdraw ten miles from the Canal Zone. I do not think anybody will accuse me of lack of sympathy with Israel, but I am bound to say that a proposal which is intended to stop the fighting, and which involves the withdrawal of the Egyptians ten miles further within their own frontier and a withdrawal of the Israelis ten miles from the Canal Zone—which still leaves them at some points 160 miles inside Egypt—is hardly one which, I should have thought, would commend itself on equitable grounds.

The only other excuse which has been put forward—and I press the Prime Minister on this—[HON. MEMBERS : "What would the right hon. Gentleman do?"] What would I do? I have already said that. I would first of all—[HON. MEMBERS : "Answer."] If we go on like this, we shall need a force to separate the two sides in this House.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I would call the attention of the House to the fact that we have a very short time for this debate and disorderly interruptions merely prolong speeches.

Mr. Gaitskell

The first thing I would do—and this is what I am going to ask the Prime Minister to do—would be to refrain from using armed force until the Security Council has finished its deliberations.

The only other argument which the Prime Minister has put forward is that it is necessary to do this in order to protect British lives and ships in the Suez Canal. Very well. But suppose the news comes through that the Israeli forces are being withdrawn towards the Israeli frontier, that they are far more than ten miles from the Suez Canal, is it still the intention of the Government, when there is really no danger whatever to British lives and shipping, to carry on with their ultimatum to Egypt and Israel and impose force if the ultimatum is refused?

I ask the Foreign Secretary this question because I understand that in Jerusalem the Israelis have issued a statement saying that in fact this is not intended to be more than an attempt to wipe out the bases from which these raids are taking place and that they do intend to withdraw afterwards. If this is the case, how on earth can the Prime Minister possibly justify intervening when the Israelis are no longer near the Canal at all? He has also to show that there was no other way. In international law, I believe, there is provision, if the local authorities cannot maintain law and order, for a Government stepping in and rescuing their own nationals. But if that piece of international law is so interpreted as to justify armed intervention with an ultimatum of the kind that has been announced this afternoon—I suggest that it can be used in all sorts of circumstances and greatly to our detriment in all parts of the world.

I should have thought that if that was the case the Americans would also be concerned with the safety of their nationals and their shipping. Why have they not taken action of this kind? They have been content to tell their nationals to come home and to warn their shipping. In what has happened so far, I cannot see any possible justification for the use of force which we have heard about this afternoon.

The Prime Minister has not consulted the Opposition. I would like to place that on record.

Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)

Which Opposition?

Mr. Gaitskell

We have had no discussions with the Prime Minister. I do not blame him for that—he has had very little time—but he made no attempt, if he wishes to have a united country on this issue, to find out whether it was possible. I can well understand the desire of, I think, the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely (Major Legge-Bourke), who spoke this afternoon, about the desire for unity, but the Opposition cannot be expected to rubber-stamp what the Government does whether they agree with it or not.

Because we have very grave anxieties about the last part of the Prime Minister's statement, I am going to make an appeal to him. I ask him once again, as I asked him this afternoon, if he will defer any action by armed forces by Britain, and, if he can persuade the French, by the French as well, until after the Security Council has completed its deliberation and until we have had a further opportunity of discussing the matter in the House of Commons.

Mr. Cyril Osborne (Louth)

Would the right hon. Gentleman do that?

Mr. Gaitskell

I must tell the Prime Minister that if he is unable to give that undertaking, which is a very reasonable one in view of what is happening in the Security Council today, and on the grounds that we do not think it right that this country should be put in grave danger of being involved in war in these conditions and in these circumstances, I regret to say that we shall have to divide the House.

8.32 p.m.

Mr. Patrick Maitland

We have just heard a dissertation which is neither more nor less than a plea for delay. We have heard the Leader of the Opposition make one case and one case only. It was that nothing should be done until the Security Council had reached a decision.

This proposition is put forward within a matter of days of another resort to the Security Council which produced no decision at all. It is put forward after some years of resort to the Security Council in many other matters that have produced no decision either. It is put forward in the light of the fact that on the one occasion when the Security Council did reach a decision nobody did anything about it.

This plea for procrastination is put forward when, on the Government's case, there might be some danger to British lives and property. It is put forward alongside the admission, which the Leader of the Opposition himself conceded, that under international law it may well be legitimate to intervene upon the territory of another State to protect one's own nationals. The proposition, in other words, is a series of arguments that do not argue—it is a succession of non sequiturs.

This afternoon, in an atmosphere of some heat which I hope we can now cool down, we heard a number of arguments about peace or war, and in the few minutes only for which I propose to detain the House I should like to allude to some of those points. Many of them were put forward more in the nature of slogans than of arguments. We were told by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that this was a case of war or peace. I submit that this is a case not of war or peace, but of law and peace.

It has been suggested by the partisans interested in the case either of the Jews or of the Arabs that one or other party may turn down our proposal. And this is urged as an argument for inaction in a day and age that has seen the United Nations ineffective over and over again; it is at such a time that we are invited to be ineffective. The whole object of the arguments advanced by some hon. Gentlemen opposite is that, somehow, we best facilitate peace by doing nothing.

That was certainly not the intention of the United Nations Charter, and there are phrases in the Charter which may well be cited in support of the Government's approach. [HON. MEMBERS : "Cite one."] I have not a copy in my pocket, or I would quote textually ; but there is, for example, the provision that nothing in the Charter interferes with the inherent right of nations to defend themselves. Under international law, as already admitted by the right hon. Gentleman, that is bound to extend to the protection of the lives and property of one's own citizens.

Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)

What are the Americans doing? They have nationals, too.

Mr. Maitland

It was suggested just now by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell), and earlier by other hon. Members opposite, that in some way the Government are at fault for not having sought the support of the Opposition, or, as another phrase has it, "consulted or even informed" the Opposition. The suggestion that I think is implicit in that complaint is that had there been consultation, which really means consultation between the two Front Benches, not between the two parties, then somehow national unity would be secured by a cabal of people on either side of the House. On the contrary, it is quite impossible to express the degree of national unity we all wish merely on the basis of secret and hidden communications through the privacy of the usual channels.

I believe that we shall find in the days to come, perhaps soon, that the public is wholeheartedly relieved that at last there are Governments in Europe—indeed, in the world—who are prepared to take some action to defend an international interest. One or two hon. Members keep shouting the catcall about making war ; but the war is on now. Their cry is out of date. The point is how to put the fire out. What does one do with a fire? Point the fire extinguisher at the moon, apparently.

The Opposition have clamoured for the past several years to have the Tripartite Declaration turned into some kind of guarantee that would protect Israel. Now that the action which such a guarantee might have required seems to threaten the advance of the Israelis, hon. Gentlemen opposite complain.

They say that we should not enter upon Egyptian territory because that would compromise Egyptian sovereignty. But do they condone the Israeli action or do they condemn it? Some hon. Members opposite have suggested that we should only know whether it is aggression on which the Security Council has decided. Yet they endorsed the action of the United States in intervening in Korea in advance of a Security Council decision.

It is easy to inflame passions in the House and the country by merely appealing to Arab or Jewish sentiment, and there are partisans of both on both sides of the House. We should be wiser to look back over the course of the last several months and to reflect whether a resort to the Security Council has, in fact, borne fruit. We should consider the broad conception of internationalising the very problem which has so blown up in our faces and consider whether the forward course, in terms of a world of contracting sovereignties, is not to take a bold intiative of this kind, bearing in mind that we have an obligation to protect our own subjects, and never forgetting our own basic national interests.

8.43 p.m.

Mr. Ian Mikardo (Reading)

If I do not begin my observations by replying to the remarks just made by the hon. Member for Lanark (Mr. Patrick Maitland), I beg him to believe that that is not out of any lack of courtesy but simply because I could not make head or tail of what he was saying. However, I want to follow his example in one respect, and that is to look at the present situation against the background of what has gone before.

The Prime Minister, when he began his statement this afternoon, referred at length and in some detail to the notable increase in tension which has taken place in recent times between Israel and her Arab neighbours. If we want to see the right way of going about matters we must look at the background, and I say quite bluntly to the right hon. Gentleman that when he says that kind of thing he should bear in mind that nobody has done so much over the last year or two to increase the tension in that area and to make both sides less secure than they felt before—nobody has done so much to do those bad things as Her Majesty's Government and the right hon. Gentleman himself.

After all, it is now a good many years since the Arab-Israel war came to an end. For most of that time, although it is true that there was a great deal of border infiltration and trouble, and raids and threatening speeches—[An HON. MEMBER : "And the state of war."] Yes, and the state of war. I am not trying to make debating points—the fact is that there was no very great danger of war. Nobody really thought that war was imminent.

It is only in the last year or two that this tension has increased to a very great extent, and one needs to see what were the causes of it. High among those causes, I believe, is the speech which the Prime Minister made at the Guildhall a few months ago. Until that speech was made it was possible for moderate people in the Middle East, and certainly moderate people in Israel, to say to those who were more militant, "Look, you chaps, do not get excited. In the final issue there is nothing to worry about, Nobody can bust up our frontiers because we have got the tripartite guarantee of our frontiers.

I have been in Israel and in some of the Arab countries many times over the last few years and I have heard that actually said in arguments between militant and non-militant people. But once the right hon. Gentleman made his speech, everybody in Israel, militant and non-militant alike, understood at once that the only frontiers which the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to guarantee were not the existing frontiers, but the frontiers of the 1947 settlement.

The Prime Minister

indicated dissent.

Mr. Mikardo

If the right hon. Gentleman shakes his head now, because he did not mean that when he said it—

The Prime Minister

I said that.

Mr. Mikardo

—all I can say is that he ought to use the language he knows so well with much greater precision.

The plain fact of the matter is that not only in Israel, but in the Arab States as well, everybody became convinced that the tripartite guarantee, so far as the right hon. Gentleman was concerned, did not guarantee the present frontiers but guaranteed only frontiers within which every Israeli knows he cannot prevent Israel from being pushed into the sea if there should be another Arab attack. What that speech did was to make the tripartite guarantee valueless to Israel, and hence it took away one of the main props of peace in the Middle East.

There was a second contribution which Her Majesty's Government made to increasing tension in the Middle East, and they made it very recently. They made it when there was a proposal, of which Her Majesty's Government were not altogether without knowledge, information and connivance, that Iraqi troops should move into Jordan. Anybody who knows that area at all knows that the one thing which is bound to upset the uneasy balance of force between Israel and the Arab States would be Iraqi troops or Egyptian troops in very large numbers in Jordan.

I am no strategist, I confess at once, but it seems to me to be a matter of simple common sense that if you are a country—

Mr. H. Fraser

Will the hon. Gentleman—

Mr. Mikardo

This is a short debate and I want to be quick. I hope that the hon. Gentleman is successful in catching your eye, Mr. Speaker, or at least I hope that he tries to do so.

It seems to me to be a matter of simple common sense that if you are ringed round by enemies, some of whom have common frontiers with you and some have not, in assessing their forces and in assessing what you need to meet their forces, you do not count the forces of countries which have not got a common frontier with you as being equal, man for man, with those who are actually next door.

What Her Majesty's Government tried to organise, or, anyhow, appeared to try to organise two or three weeks ago, was a common frontier in military terms between Iraq and Israel. They must have known that that was the greatest single contribution to increased tension that anyone could have introduced. The connection between that and the right hon. Gentleman's speech at Guildhall is that two days before the Iraqis said they were going to move troops into Jordan, Nuri-es-Said made a speech which was almost word for word a repetition of the right hon. Gentleman's Guildhall speech. It was Nuri Pasha himself, who is clever enough always to know what he is after, who accepted the close connection between the right hon. Gentleman's abandonment of the tripartite guarantees in so far as they affected the present frontiers of Israel and the proposal that Iraqi troops should move into Jordan.

I do not wonder—indeed, I understand it, and I approve—that the Prime Minister is hesitating to chuck any names about at this stage and to brand anybody as aggressors. It may well be because his conscience will not allow him to start pinning blame upon other people when he knows that so much of the blame for the present tension in the Middle East rests on the Government Front Bench.

My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has shown in his speech that there is not, and cannot be, any basis of legality for the action which Her Majesty's Government are proposing to take. In a way, my right hon. Friend's arguments were a work of supererogation, because the Prime Minister did not even claim that there was any basis of legality for it. He did not rest his action upon the 1950 tripartite guarantee, nor did he rest it upon the 1954 Agreement with Egypt. The right hon. Gentleman said—in so far as it is true that it is a matter which deeply concerns both sides of the House—that there were British ships going through the Canal or approaching the entrance to the Canal and that they contained British subjects, and that if there was fighting around the Canal those British subjects might be in danger. He said that we were taking action only on those grounds.

But, in one day there are ships of six, eight or ten nationalities going through the Canal. Suppose that every country which has a ship going through the Canal at this minute, or has a ship lined up at the entrance to go through tomorrow, arrogated unto itself the right to be the policeman in the way the right hon. Gentleman has done, and we suddenly found descending on Egypt at four o'clock tomorrow morning the troops of all those other countries. What sort of a mess would it be? Who would be fighting whom?

Let us be clear about this. This is not altogether as fanciful as it might sound. There is a great deal of Russian shipping which uses the Suez Canal. [HON. MEMBERS : "There are Russian pilots, too."] I guess that there are more Russians in Egypt at the moment than British, certainly in Cairo, which I visited a few weeks ago. Suppose the Russians were to say, "Our people will be endangered by fighting at the Canal." The Russians have plenty of paratroops and airborne troops. Suppose the Russians said to Egypt," We should like you to have some of our troops. We give you until four o'clock tomorrow morning to kiss them on both cheeks, but if you do not do that they are coming anyway." Then, when our troops got over from Cyprus they might find themselves in the same flying range as Russian troops. Is that a development which the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues would welcome?

Yet, since the right hon. Gentleman has not rested his case for his action upon any basis of legality, and since he has not claimed for it any more legality than there is for Russian troops being in the satellite States of Eastern Europe, what will he say if the Russians decide that they, too, must protect then-nationals in their ships and in Egypt by sending their troops in?

In fact, the action proposed by the Government is a direct and outrageous defiance of what the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely (Major Legge-Bourke) called "the rule of law". If ever the rule of law was defied, this is it. What has the right hon. Gentleman done? He has said to the Security Council, "Please, will you consider this situation, but irrespective of what you decide and irrespective of whether you have made a decision we are going to do what we like at four o'clock tomorrow morning."

Major Legge-Bourke

Has the hon. Gentleman overlooked that under the 1888 Convention we have a duty which we inherited from the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War, which placed upon us, second only to Egypt, the object of ensuring free passage through the Canal?

Mr. Mikardo

The hon. and gallant Gentleman has given his own point away. He says "second only to Egypt," and since it is second only to Egypt, we have no right to carry out that obligation in defiance of Egypt's wishes. I do not wish to continue his argument about legality. The rule of law at the moment, whatever hon. Gentlemen who laugh at the United Nations may think, rests in the United Nations, and the right hon. Gentleman has recognised that by sending this matter to the United Nations at the very first minute he could possibly have done so, about the same time as he brought it to us this afternoon.

The right hon. Gentleman has admitted that the rule of law rests in the United Nations. What is the good, if the right hon. Gentleman thinks that he is aggrieved by one of my actions, of hauling me before a police court and saying to the magistrates in advance, "I am going to knock this fellow's eye out in 12 hours' time, whatever you may think about it."? This is in utter and open defiance of the rule of law at any time. I say this with regret, but I fear that it is because deep down hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite do not really care twopence beyond lip-service about the United Nations. One can see that by the reaction when my right hon. Friend was speaking and mentioned the United Nations and by the reaction of some hon. Gentlemen opposite who had brought their Llandudno manners to Westminster.

I want to make one final point. My right hon. Friend said—and, of course, he was right—that it is not clear to any of us, and cannot be as yet, whether this invasion by the Israelis is anything more than, so to speak, retaliation in death, whether it is anything more than an attempt to clean up bases from which the fedayeen have been operating. I should like to direct the attention of the House for one moment to the background of what has been obviously—anyone can read it on the record—the military thinking by the Israelis over the last year or two. Until last year the main bases of the fedayeen—and they are not just ordinary infiltrators or commandos, they are rather tough stuff—was at E1 Auja and that is why, last year, the Israelis, instead of going for the infiltrators, then went for the base at E1 Auja, beat it up and then withdrew hoping that that would be the end of the fedayeen raids. So it was for a while until a new base for the fedayeen was built on the same frontier further south at Kuntilla.

It is clear, therefore, that the Israelis' object now in moving across the northern half of the Sinai desert on the route which they have taken is, to put it shortly and perhaps a little to over-simplify it, to demilitarise the Sinai Peninsula because, as long as there is some part of that area not demilitarised and certainly some part near their own frontier, there will always be fedayeen raids, which means that they will always have the problem of maintaining the security of their frontier settlements. If one wants to look for evidence that there is some basis for this—and I do not pretend to ex cathedra knowledge and I am only trying to analyse it—it will, I think, be found in two places.

The first is the route that the Israelis chose. If one is going to invade Egypt from Israel there are three routes. There is a good route on the coast; there is not a bad route, which is fairly short, through E1 Auja ; and there is a long and difficult route through Kuntilla. If the objective was to cut across the Canal and into Cairo the third route would have been the very last to choose.

A second piece of evidence is that throughout the whole of today, with all the news that there has been on the tape about this, there has been no news about fighting or about further advance. In fact, what has happened is that the Israelis have not gone to the Canal, and my guess is that they will not go near the Canal. They have cut across the Sinai Peninsula to demilitarise it and to deny supplies to the Egyptian batteries on the point of that peninsula. Those are the batteries which deny Israeli shipping passage to the port of Eilat.

I should have thought that that was a reasonable analysis of what they are doing, and I should imagine that if the Prime Minister really wants to put an end to the fighting quickly, instead of acting unilaterally, what he could do would be to probe whether the Israeli Government's intention is what I believe it to be—to withdraw their forces back to their frontier on the understanding that the Sinai Peninsula will remain demilitarised.

If he could probe that understanding and use his great influence to give a guarantee to the Israelis that the demilitarisation of the Sinai Peninsula will stick, I think that he could put an end to the fighting without laying himself open to the accusation, which the whole world will make, that the action he has taken today has got nothing to do with the Israeli invasion, but is based entirely on his policy of three months ago.

9.3 p.m.

Mr. C. E. Mott-Radclyffe (Windsor)

The hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) has made a speech which does less than justice to his knowledge of the Middle East. He tried to convince the House that both Arab and Israeli alike were quite satisfied with the existing frontier between Israel and the Arab States until the Prime Minister's speech at the Guildhall. He knows perfectly well that that is an absolute travesty of the facts. He knows equally well that neither did my right hon. Friend not mean to say nor did he say that the only frontiers he had in mind were frontiers laid clown in the 1947 Agreement. Nobody who fairly reads the text of that speech at the Guildhall could conceivably place that interpretation upon it.

lf the Leader of the Opposition will forgive me for saying so, I thought that his speech was a little unreal in relation to the circumstances that we are discussing. He missed out one most important factor, the time factor. This is not a question of peace or war, as my hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mr. Patrick Maitland) rightly said, because Israel and Egypt are at war now. While we are discussing these great events Israeli and Egyptian forces are in action against each other. The Israeli forces are 60, 50 or 40 miles, it may be even less, from the Suez Canal.

Once fighting has broken out between Israel and Egypt it is absurd for hon. Gentlemen opposite to suggest—unless both sides agree, as we hope they will, to withdraw—that either we or the United States or France can stand aside indefinitely and see the whole Middle East blow up in flames. Of course we cannot. Unless the Israelis and the Egyptians agree to a cease fire, sooner or later the Powers concerned have to intervene.

Mr. Svdney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

Which are the Powers concerned?

Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

The Tripartite Powers. And the longer the intervention is put off, the larger must be the scale of intervention.

Mr. Silverman

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

No. We have had quite long speeches from hon. Members, and in a debate extending over only two hours I do not think I need give way to the hon. Gentleman whose views are well known and whose intervention I could probably forecast. Perhaps he will have an opportunity to speak later on.

I do not understand why the Opposition Front Bench should take exception to the Government's proposal that both Israel and Egypt should withdraw 10 miles from the Suez Canal. I think that a reasonable, sound and sensible suggestion. I do not see why they should take exception to the proposal which accompanied that request, that unless both sides did agree to withdraw, British and French forces should intervene in the Canal Zone. I will give three reasons why I think that, without an agreement to withdraw and a cessation of hostilities, it is absolutely right and indeed vital that Anglo-French forces should intervene. Short of an agreement to cease hostilities, the sooner such forces intervene the better. Of course we all hope, indeed, as the Prime Minister said, we all pray, that common-sense and second thoughts may come to both sides and that both Egypt and Israel will agree to cease hostilities. But, short of that, the sooner Anglo-French forces move in the better, for three very good reasons.

First, because, as my right hon. Friend said, British lives are involved. Why should hon. Gentlemen opposite laugh at that?

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)


Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

No, I cannot give way.

Mr. Paget


Hon. Members

Sit down.

Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

Why should right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite laugh at that? Why should that be a bad reason for intervention? I think it was the hon. Member for Reading who said that there are other nationals involved. Of course there are. But I think I am correct in saying that we bear the prime responsibility for their safety. No doubt my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary will tell us, and I should like to know—I am sure hon. Gentlemen opposite would like to know—how many civilian contractors are still in the Canal Zone—perhaps several thousands, and they are British subjects. I do not know offhand how many British subjects or how many Maltese or other citizens with British passports are still in Cairo and Alexandria, but so long as they hold British passports they are entitled to protection. I do not know what the numbers are, and no doubt the Foreign Secretary will tell us ; but that is one very good reason for intervening soon, failing an agreement to cease hostilities.

Now for the second reason. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said that every 24 hours or so there are British ships worth about £50 million or more going through the Canal. [An HON. MEMBER : "Ships without cargoes."] The cargoes would be worth more still. Is the protection of those ships and cargoes of no interest to hon. Gentlemen opposite? What will happen if tonight one or more of these ships becomes involved, through no fault of its own, in a kind of dog-fight between Israeli and Egyptian forces and the Canal is blocked and lives are lost? There will be no free passage of ships through the Canal.

The hon. Member for Reading said "Of course, a lot of other ships belonging to other nations are using the Canal". That is quite true. He asked why they did not intervene. If we and the French obtained assistance from other nations whose ships used the Canal and we got a kind of cordon sanitaire to ensure free passage to ships through the Canal, I should welcome it. I do not know why hon. Gentlemen opposite think it is a strange idea. I thought hon. Gentlemen opposite were wedded to the idea of an international police force. If other nations whose ships go through the Canal and whose interests are similarly involved would like to help us to keep the Canal open and protect all the nationals involved, I do not think that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister or anybody else would object to it. We can leave that argument where it stands.

The third reason it is essential that action should be taken quickly, if there is no cessation of hostilities, is that if the Anglo-French forces were to go into the Canal Zone there is at least a chance—I would not put it higher than that—that we might establish a cordon sanitaire between the belligerent forces and confine the conflict at an early stage to reasonable proportions. If we wait much longer there will be no chance of doing that.

It is not wise or profitable for this House to enter into a technical legal argument about who was the original aggressor, Israel or the Arab States. Since the party opposite, for reasons good or bad, handed over the Mandate for Palestine, and thereby created a vacuum, there has been a long series of raids, counter-raids and reprisals. It is impossible to establish in international law any kind of proof of who first started them, and it would be very undesirable and a waste of time to enter into a long argument as to which was the more culpable.

At least I can say, for the attention of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), that anybody who read what Colonel Nasser has written or listened to what he has said cannot have much doubt that in his mind Israel is now the top of the list of intended victims. I therefore wonder whether it is unreasonable, much as we may deplore it, that Israel should take counter-action at this time.

The party opposite has to make up its mind on three matters this evening. First, do they or do they not attach any importance to the free passage of ships of all nations through the Canal? That is the first question on which they must make up their minds.

Secondly, are they prepared to take any action of any kind to establish the law of order or do they wish, by never doing anything at all, to revert to the law of the jungle? It is no good hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite saying to us, "Of course you have no faith in the Security Council and no faith in the United Nations." That is not true. We took the previous dispute to the Security Council and we have taken this dispute there. But to pretend that the machinery of the Security Council is perfect and that the misuse of the veto does not hamstring all action is to bury one's head in the sand. It was never intended, when the United Nations Charter was originally drawn up, that the veto should completely prevent anybody from ever doing anything.

Thirdly, so long as right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite say that we must never on any account take any action unless it is authorised by the United Nations, what they mean is that we must never on any account take any action at all to preserve our own interests or those of anybody else ; we must always do nothing until it is too late. Then, in retrospect, they will revert to their traditional rôle and pretend, many years afterwards, that in fact they had wanted to do something.

If the two belligerent Powers, Egypt and Israel, can agree to stop fighting and to withdraw ten miles from the Canal Zone, or even if the worst comes to the worst and Anglo-French forces intervene and keep the two belligerents apart, I think there may be a better chance now than there has been for a long time--providing that we can confine this conflict to reasonable proportions—of getting some sort of settlement about the frontiers. I am not in the least impressed by the arguments of the party opposite that all we had to do in the past to prevent this conflagration was to have given arms to Israel when the Egyptians were buying arms from Czechoslovakia. Suppose we had allowed Israel to have an unlimited supply of arms. What would be the position now? There would still have been an explosion, but it would have been a much bigger one. That is not a policy at all.

I believe that if we can persuade both sides to withdraw and to cease fighting there may be a chance of getting an agreement, even if only a temporary agreement, about the frontiers ; and if we can get them to agree about the frontiers, we should be able gradually to dry up a running sore in a part of the world where for many years there has been so much misery when there might have been so much prosperity.

9.19 p.m.

Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)

I will be very short and raise only one point with the Foreign Secretary, but before I come to that, may I say that I am very pleased to find that there is such a general agreement in the House today about the dangers and anxieties which have been confronting Israel and its people for a great number of years and a great deal of sympathy with Israel. I only wish that that sympathy and anxiety had been expressed for some years past as many of us have attempted to express it, instead of being something which seems to have been suddenly discovered. No country has suffered so much continually throughout its existence as Israel and its people. The whole time it has had to be under arms, the whole time it has been threatened, day after day it has heard on the wireless that Egypt's one object was the destruction and complete obliteration of Israel as a State.

Now Israel has invaded Egyptian territory. The answer to the question, who declared war and who invaded another's territory does not settle the question of who is the aggressor. If I might remind the House, so far as I know nobody throughout the world has at any time accused this country of being the aggressor in either the 1914 or the 1939 war, yet we were the only people who declared war upon Germany. Therefore, it does not follow that those who issue a declaration of war, or who do invade, are the actual aggressors.

Be that as it may, the invasion has taken place. The anxiety of everybody now is to bring about, as quickly as possible, the cessation of hostilities and, if we cannot do that, to confine the trouble to as narrow an area as we possibly can. Naturally, the first thing that one does is to turn to the United Nations. I am glad that the Government did that first, and joined with the United States and France in bringing this matter before the Security Council, which is now discussing this very question.

So far so good, but while that is happening there is danger. There may be danger to the Canal, danger to human lives and danger to ships in the Canal. I assume for the moment, and only for this purpose, that inasmuch as the Security Council of the United Nations has no international police force to act for it, we, who have hitherto always been regarded as the nation which has acted as a police force in the Middle East, have done the right thing in saying to both nations," Stop fighting "; saying to both of them," Back away from your present positions and allow a big demilitarised zone to be established."

Then we go one step further. We say." Answer that—and answer another question, Egypt. Will you allow the French forces and our forces to come in, even as token forces"—I will assume that—" and occupy three bases alongside the Canal?"

For what purpose? That is the question I want to ask. If it is true that the Israeli troops have turned away from the Canal, and that all they desire to do—and that I can well understand, and I should think that everybody would say, "Well, you have suffered so much ; there comes a moment when you have to act"—is to sweep around these commandos, these murder gangs that cross the border every now and again, and put an end to them ; if they are prepared to turn back, so that no lives are now in danger, the Canal is not in danger, the shipping is not in danger, is there, then, any reason whatsoever to go on with this last part? That is the one and only point with which I should really like to hear the Foreign Secretary deal.

9.23 p.m.

Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)

The right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) has, I think, put his finger on a vital point. The Government cannot escape the suspicion that their actions in this matter are not directed towards the real problem that faces us, the incursion of the Israeli in Egypt, but that they are using this opportunity to fulfil their long-cherished designs to regain control of the Suez Canal.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke


Mr. Mayhew

As the right hon. and learned Gentleman has just said, it is a plain test of their sincerity that the Government should say that if no British lives are at stake, and if the Israelis are, in fact, leaving the Canal Zone, there can be no possible cause whatever for proceeding with the action which they have outlined tonight.

The hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Mott-Radclyffe) gave three reasons for the action proposed by the Government ; that British lives were in danger ; that British property and interests were threatened ; and that a cordon sanitaire, as he said, between the Israelis and Egyptians might be a good thing. Each of those reasons obviously depends upon the assumption that the Israelis intend to hold the Canal line, but if, in fact, they withdraw, it would be folly to land British and French troops in the Canal Zone. The position would be ludicrous and indefensible, and I am sure that the House expects the Foreign Secretary to make this point perfectly clear when he winds up the debate.

Surely the objective that we want is a clear one. We want a cease-fire and the withdrawal of the Israeli troops to the frontier. I should have thought that the obvious first course of the Government should have been to demand these things at the Security Council at its present session. Already, two great Powers have stated that the Israeli forces must return forthwith to the frontier. Those are the Soviet Union and the United States. So far us I know, two great Powers, the French and the British, have not made that statement.

I do not understand why the Government have not made this clear. Personally, I have no hesitation in speaking much more frankly about the Israeli action than either the hon. Member for Windsor or the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery. It seems to me that whatever the provocation—and there are, extenuating circumstances—this act by the Israeli Government is an act of aggression against Egypt. I do not see any point in covering this up.

Of course, the Israelis can claim that they were threatened with a future war by the Arab countries We understand and sympathise with those fears. But to use that suggestion as a justification for armed aggression against one's neighbours is an act of folly which should be condemned. We shall get into a very bad position both in the United Nations and in this country if we slur over the fact that a vital matter of principle is at stake and that this is an act of aggression.

Even on the provocations, about which we have heard and which are real, we have to remember that there are not provocations on the frontiers from one side only and that the Israeli Government have been condemned unanimously by the Security Council on this point.

Further—and this is the last point I wish to make on this subject—this act has been shrewdly timed. It has been most deliberate. It has obviously been in consideration for many days past and it was launched at a time which, clearly, had been most carefully chosen both in relation to the great temptations that this act would put on the British and French Governments to send troops into the Canal Zone, which they have been wanting to do for some time past, and also because of the American preoccupation with the elections and the Soviet preoccupation in Eastern Europe.

It is quite wrong not to speak plainly about what is, in my opinion, an act of aggression. But what should be the answer to that? The right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery disappointed me by saying that the British Government have a police responsibility in this matter. I think that is a very dangerous point of view in these times. It is very dangerous indeed and derogatory to the authority of the United Nations, which is one of the things we must preserve as a British interest.

Mr. Osborne

It is historically true.

Mr. Mayhew

It is historically true, but we are not historians here. We are dealing with the present. One of the basic troubles with the hon. Gentleman is that he is bringing to this problem a very old-fashioned attitude to power and international relations. That was the thing that let down hon. Members opposite over the Suez problem and is letting them down again today.

We cannot act today as we did in Alexandria in 1886. It was a fine day and the British fleet sailed towards the port of Alexandria and opened fire and bombarded her. Those days cannot return. We must try to deal with this problem in a realistic fashion.

It is clear that the Government's proposed action makes no contribution to the objective of getting Israeli troops back to the frontier. One quotation of the American delegate on the Security Council struck me as well deserved. He said: No one certainly should lake advantage of this situation to pursue any selfish interests. That is a statement of the American delegate on the Security Council. He did not say against whom that criticism was made but I do not think that on this occasion it was the Soviet Union. I think that this was a fear expressed about the actions of the British and French Governments.

It is impossible to believe that, if the Government's real intention was to secure the withdrawal, of Israeli troops to the frontier and a cease-fire, they would have chosen these particular places to which to send French and British troops. It is all too clear, I am afraid, that they are trying to link up the Israeli incursion with the Suez problem which they have long wanted to solve in their own way.

They are not acting under the Charter. They are not acting under the Tripartite Declaration; they have said so. They are not even acting under the reactivation clause of the old Suez agreement. They are not acting under any international instrument of any kind. But, quite apart from the morality of it, one must consider the practicability of defending vital British interests by action which might so easily, and probably will, if it is carried out, lead us into war with Egypt.

From the point of view of practicability, it seems to me absolutely absurd. We cannot guarantee the passage of the Canal by fighting Egypt, and we cannot guarantee our oil supplies in this country by attacking Arab countries which will have the united support of other Arab countries which have oil resources. These points of practicability are as valid today in relation to the action proposed by the Government as they were valid when we were discussing the Suez issue so recently in the House of Commons.

The frightening aspect of the discussion we have had has been the complete defeatism of the Government about the United Nations. None of us had any illusions about the Security Council; that is true. But on this occasion the prospect is not necessarily very unfavourable for big-Power agreement in the Security Council; it is not nearly so unfavourable as it has been on almost every occasion in the past. Surely the Government should at least have waited before announcing these drastic measures until this discussion now going on in the Security Council this evening.

Why so precipitate? Is it because the action they wish to take in relation to this incursion by Israel is the precise action they wished to take before and which the Security Council did not entertain? With the best will in the world, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Government have a double purpose in the action they suggest to us tonight. If this appears so to many in this House and in the country, it will certainly appear so to many millions of people in Asia, the Middle East and throughout the world. That is the construction that they will put upon it.

I would beg the Foreign Secretary, first, to give an assurance that, on the assumption that Israeli forces are withdrawn, there can be no question of our reoccupying the Canal ; and, secondly, that under no circumstances will force be used unilaterally by the French and British without the prior consent of the Security Council.

9.34 p.m.

Mr. Alfred Robens (Blyth)

It was not my intention to intervene in this debate, neither was it our intention to have two Front Bench speakers. I do not therefore propose to take up very many minutes, and I do not propose to go over all the ground which has already been covered in this debate ; but because the Foreign Secretary is to reply tonight, and because it will depend very largely upon the reply of the Foreign Secretary as to what happens in relation to a vote on this matter, I must, I think, say one or two words finally on behalf of this side of the House.

The Prime Minister this afternoon said that he had consulted the Commonwealth, and I rather gathered that he had consulted the United States. That was my impression. Other people's impressions are not quite the same. It seems exceedingly strange, if that is the case, that there should be the statement from the United States State Department today that it had received no prior warning of the British and French intention to move troops into the Suez area if Egypt and Israel do not stop fighting. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]

I admit that the Prime Minister was replying to a quick supplementary question from this side of the House. I am sure he would not want to mislead the House knowingly, and it may well be that the Foreign Secretary would like to clear up the point. It is germane in view of the fact that the Tripartite Declaration—

Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)

I took the precaution of noting what the Prime Minister said in reply to my question. His words were : "We have been in close communication with the United States Government."

Mr. Robens

I am sure that the Prime Minister, through the Foreign Secretary, will want to make it clear whether he was in fact in consultation with the United States in view of the statement by the State Department that it had no prior warning of the intention of the British and the French to move troops into the Suez area. It would be exceedingly serious for the Prime Minister, perhaps unwittingly, to mislead the House and for the British and French to take this action when, in fact, the Americans have not been informed and have not had the opportunity of giving their views or agreeing with what the Prime Minister has announced.

Following that, one should look at what Mr. Cabot Lodge has said at the Security Council. He said: Failure by the Council to react at this time would be an avoidance of the responsibilities to maintain peace and security. The Government of the United States feels it imperative that the Council act in the promptest manner to determine whether a breach of the peace has occurred, to have a cease fire ordered immediately and to obtain the withdrawal of Israeli Forces behind the frontier line Nothing else will suffice. It seems to me that if the British Government ranged themselves behind that kind of declaration, they would do more towards peaceful negotiations in the Middle East than the action they now contemplate.

I know that the Foreign Secretary must have time to reply, and I therefore content myself with just one more minute. It is terribly important that when this country is virtually going to war the House of Commons should be united. The Prime Minister has a great personal responsibility in this matter. He does not want a divided House. We do not want a divided House, and I will tell the Prime Minister how he can avoid it.

In view of what I have just said in relation to the speech by Mr. Cabot Lodge and in relation to what the State Department has said, if the Foreign Secretary can say on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Government that they will not take this military action until the Security Council has fully discussed the matter and come to a decision, the Prime Minister can avoid a vote on this matter tonight.

If we are compelled to vote tonight, it is because we are against the use of military force outside the Charter of the United Nations and whilst the Security Council is at the moment discussing the problem. I therefore beg and urge the Prime Minister not to divide the House. He can lose nothing by postponing this decision for forty-eight hours, by which time the Security Council will have made its decision. I plead with him to do it. The Foreign Secretary has the opportunity to do that now, to keep this country united, and not have a declaration of war—because that is what this ultimatum will mean—with half of this House and half the country against the action proposed to be taken.

9.40 p.m.

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

There has been some complaint today from the Opposition benches about the Government's failure to consult the Opposition before taking action. The facts are that the moment the Prime Minister had finished his discussions with the French Ministers he at once spoke to the leaders of the Opposition. Really, this idea that the Government of the day can take action only after prior agreement with the Opposition—

Mr. Gaitskell


Hon. Members

Sit down.

Mr. Gaitskell

First, my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) and I saw the Prime Minister at 4.15, a quarter of an hour before the debate, and were given the statement. We appreciated seeing it at least 15 minutes before the debate, but that was not consultation. Secondly, I did not complain about failure on the part of the Government to consult us. I was making it plain that they did not do so, and that they could not expect, in the absence of that consultation and agreement with us, that they would automatically have unity.

Mr. Lloyd

I do not think we have ever suggested there should automatically be unity. We certainly do not want a rubber stamp from the Opposition. We shall do what we believe to be right in the interests of the country, and it is for the Opposition to do what they think is right. All this talk about dividing the House—if the House is divided tonight it will be the responsibility of the Opposition, and I believe that in this serious situation that is something which the country will not forgive.

There has been a good deal of talk today about the general situation in the Middle East. After the latest interjections, perhaps I ought not to say what I am going to say, but this situation in the Middle East was, after all, a bequest to us from the Opposition. We did not contrive the ending of the Mandate in the way in which it was ended.

I thought that the speech of the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) went to the limit of partisanship when he attacked the Prime Minister's speech at the Guildhall. What was it the Prime Minister said then? He said that there should be a compromise—is there something very wicked about that?—between the views of Israel and of the Arab States, a compromise between the 1947 and the 1948 frontiers. Is that a very wicked suggestion to put forward? Quite obviously, if there is ever to be a settlement of the situation between Israel and the Arab States there has got to be some give and take on each side.

We have tried in a difficult period, under much criticism from the Opposition, to keep the ring, certainly over the supply of arms. After we had been abused for four years for not giving Israel enough arms, the hon. Member for Coventry. East (Mr. Crossman) got up one day and said that Israel could wipe the Arab States off the face of the map. We have tried to do the fair thing by each of the countries concerned and to keep the ring and hold the balance, and that is our policy today.

The Leader of the Opposition suggested that we were trying to impose a settlement or a solution by this action that we have taken. Nothing is further from our thoughts. It may be that a solution may be facilitated thereby, but the question of a settlement between Israel and the Arab States will not come out of this particular situation. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that we were seeking to judge the rights and the wrongs of the present situation. That is precisely what we have sought to avoid doing.

There is considerable argument, I think, on this question of aggression and self-defence. I gather from the speeches today that most hon. Members opposite seem to think that Israel has been guilty of an act of aggression. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes" and "No."] Some seem to say "Yes" and some to say "No," and some seem to be begging the question. [An HON. MEMBER: "And the Foreign Secretary?"] I shall tell the House.

This presents a matter which must be carefully debated and discussed [An HON. MEMBER: "An ultimatum."] If a man has said that he is going to cut one's throat is it an act of aggression if one kicks the knife out of his hand? We must remember the facts of the situation and that, as has been said, Israel is the next target, the next on the list of priorities. There have been a series of incidents, interference with communications and the acts of these commando raiders. This is nothing like a simple issue—that simply because Israel has crossed the frontiers or the armistice lines, that is an aggression.

Mr. Healey


Mr. Speaker

It is disorderly for the hon. Member to remain standing unless the Minister gives way.

Mr. Healey

I thank the Foreign Secretary for giving way. I have been following the right hon. and learned Gentleman with great attention. Can he explain why, a few weeks ago, when Israel took far less severe action in crossing the Jordan frontier in response to a series of major incidents the same week, he took the opportunity, within an hour of the report, of issuing a strong and severe condemnation of Israel for taking that action?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that the situation between Jordan and Israel is quite different from the situation between Egypt and Israel. [Laughter.] The fact that hon. and right hon. Members laugh at that statement shows their complete failure to know the facts of the situation. The idea that Jordan is a threat to the continued existence of Israel as a State is absolute nonsense. Really, the hon. Gentleman should know better than to make the intervention he has done.

What I was saying was that this question of aggression and self-defence is nothing like as simple as some hon. Members have tried to make out. It is a matter which needs to be debated and discussed at great length. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Now hon. Gentlemen are showing greater touch with reality, because that is exactly what will happen—at great length. It will be debated at great length because it is nothing like a simple issue.

What we have said is that we cannot postpone our action until the conclusion of that discussion and that debate. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Because we are faced with an actual situation. We are faced with a situation in which Israeli troops are within a few miles of Suez. We are faced with a situation when, this afternoon, air activity has begun to increase on each side. We are faced with a situation in which there may at any moment be a threat to British lives and British ships passing through the Canal.

The right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) asked me a question to which I will try to give him an answer according to the information in my possession. I believe that the threat of hostilities in the neighbourhood of the Canal is as great this evening as it was at any time since this thing started. The right hon. and learned Member rather suggested that the prospect of hostilities on the Canal had faded away because the Israeli forces were being withdrawn. I do not believe that to be the case. I believe that the threat of incidents, and the threat of air activity, is as great this evening as it has been at any time during the past 24 hours.

After all, if we think of the military situation and of the position of the Israeli forces and of the risks of Egyptian forces debouching from the Canal into Sinai, obviously the Canal area is a vital area to both sides so far as their military activities are concerned.

Mr. C. Davies

What are the facts as known to the right hon. and learned Gentleman now? That is really what I was asking.

Mr. Lloyd

The facts as known to us at the present time are that Israeli forces are within a very few miles of Suez. [An HON. MEMBER: "Which way?"] They are moving towards Suez. They have been moving towards Suez, they are moving towards Suez and they are within very close distance of Suez. That is our information. There is also information of the increase of air activity, and I should have thought that it would be common sense to assess this as a threat to free passage through the Canal. And I believe that there is at the present time a threat of sufficient degree to require us to lake straight away the action which we propose.

Mr. S. Silverman


Hon. Members

Sit down.

Mr. Lloyd

I am sorry, but I have only a very few moments left to me.

There is a fundamental point which this House and other countries will have to face. We have created a system of international law and order in which we have to face the fact that the Security Council is, first, frustrated by the veto and, secondly, that it cannot act immediately. In a sense, the policeman has his hands tied behind his back. He has to wait a long time before he is allowed to play his part.

I myself believe that, if you have accepted that system, you are only safe if you also retain the rights of individual countries to defend their own nationals and their own interests. [Interruption.] There are interruptions from the Opposition about Hungary. I really cannot understand their relevance. I should have thought that the fight which is taking place there because the people of that country wish to assert their rights was so praiseworthy as not to be dragged into this debate.

We say that in the present international system, where the Security Council is subject to the veto, there must be the right for individual countries to intervene in an emergency to take action to defend their own nationals and their own interests. After all, we in this country have far more ships than any other country, we have far more of our seamen and

nationals going through the Canal at the present time than other countries have. I just do not understand why it should be so abhorrent to the Opposition that we should take decisive action to assert our rights to defend our own people.

The suggestion is made that we should agree to defer any action until the conclusion of the Security Council debate. That is an undertaking which I believe it is quite impossible and impracticable for any Government to give. We have got to reserve to ourselves the right to take the necessary action in an emergency at the time we think fit. In spite of all the noise that has been made by the Opposition on this matter, I believe that the action that we are taking—[Interruption.]

In this matter we have never claimed that we have acted in agreement with the United States of America. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] We have certainly been in close touch with the Government of the United States throughout this controversy, but we have never said that we have acted with their approval and authority. We believe that this is a decision which we and the French Government have had to take in our own right, and, really, it is a decision in the interests of the peace of that area.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Sydney Silverman.

Mr. Silverman


Mr. Herbert W. Bowden (Leicester, South-West)

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put accordingly. That this House do now adjourn :—

The House divided : Ayes 218. Noes 270.

Division No. 295.] AYES [9.58 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Cronin, J. D.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Brockway, A. F. Cullen, Mrs. A.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Darling, George (Hillsborough)
Anderson, Frank Brown, Thomas (Ince) Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)
Awbery, S. S. Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Davies, Harold (Leek)
Bacon, Miss Alice Callaghan, L. J. Deer, G.
Baird, J. Carmichael, J. de Freitas, Geoffrey
Balfour, A. Castle, Mrs. B. A. Delargy, H. J.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Champion, A. J. Dodds, N. N.
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S. E.) Chetwynd, G. R. Donnelly, D. L.
Beswick, F. Clunie, J. Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Coldrick, W. Dye, S.
Blackburn, F. Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Edelman, M.
Blenkinsop, A. Collins, V. J.(Shoreditch & Finsbury) Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)
Boardman, H. Corbet, Mrs. Freda Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Cove, W. G. Edwards, W, J. (Stepney)
Boyd, T. C. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Fernyhough, E. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Fienburgh, W. Lindgren, G. S. Ross, William
Finch, H. J. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Royle, C.
Fletcher, Eric Logan, D. G. Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Forman, J. C. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) MacColl, J. E. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. McGhee, H. G. Skeffington, A. M.
Gibson, C. W. McInnes, J. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Gooch, E. G. McKay, John (Wallsend) Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. McLeavy, Frank Snow, J. W.
Greenwood, Anthony MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Sorensen, R. W.
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Sparks, J. A.
Grey, C. F. Mahon, Simon Steele, T.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Mann, Mrs. Jean Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. (Ipswich)
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Mason, Roy Stones, W. (Consett)
Hale, Leslie Mellish, R. J. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mikardo, Ian Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Hamilton, W. W. Mitchison, G. R. Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C)
Hannan, W. Monslow, W. Sylvester, G. O.
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Moody, A. S. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Hastings, S. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Hayman, F. H. Mort, D. L. Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Healey, Denis Moss, R. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Moyle, A. Thornton, E.
Herbison, Miss M. Mulley, F. W. Timmons, J.
Hewitson, Capt. M. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Tomney, F.
Hobson, C. R. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Holman, P. Oliver, G. H. Usborne, H. C.
Holmes, Horace Oram, A. E. Viant, S. P.
Houghton, Douglas Orbach, M. Warbey, W. N.
Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Oswald, T. Watkins, T. E.
Howell, Denis (All Saints) Owen, W. J. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) West, D. G.
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Palmer, A. M. F. Wheeldon, W. E.
Hunter, A. E. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Pargiter, G. A. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Parker, J. Wilkins, W. A.
Irving, S. (Dartford) Parkin, B. T. Willey, Frederick
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Peart, T. F. Williams, David (Neath)
Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Pentland, N. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Jeger, George (Goole) Plummer, Sir Leslie Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs, S.) Popplewell, E. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Williams, W. H. (Openshaw)
Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Probert, A. R. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Proctor, W. T. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Pryde, D. J. Winterbottom, Richard
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Randall, H. E. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Rankin, John Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Kenyon, C. Redhead, E. C. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Reeves, J.
King, Dr. H. M. Reid, William TELLERS FOR THE AYES :
Lawson, G. M. Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson.
Ledger, R. J. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Aitken, W. T. Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Cunningham, Knox
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Boyle, Sir Edward Dance, J. C. G.
Alport, C. J. M. Braine, B. R. Davies, Rt. Hon. Clement (Montgomery)
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Deedes, W. F.
Arbuthnot, John Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Digby, Simon Wingfieid
Armstrong, C. W. Browne, J. Nixon (Cralgton) Dodds-Parker, A. D.
Ashton, H. Bryan, P. Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.
Atkins, H. E. Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Doughty, C. J. A.
Baldwin, A. E. Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden) Drayson, G. B.
Balniel, Lord Campbell, Sir David du Cann, E. D. L.
Barber, Anthony Carr, Robert Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)
Barlow, Sir John Cary, Sir Robert Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.
Barter, John Channon, H. Duthie, W. S.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Chichester-Clark, R. Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Cole, Norman Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir A (Warwick & L'm'tn)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Cooper, A. E. Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.
Bidgood, J. C. Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Corfield, Capt. F. V. Errington, Sir Eric
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Erroll, F. J.
Bishop, F. P. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Farey-Jones, F. W.
Black, C. W. Crouch, R. F. Fell, A.
Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan) Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Finlay, Graeme
Fisher, Nigel Lambton, Viscount Pitt, Miss E. M.
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Pott, H. P.
Fort, R. Langford-Holt, J. A. Powell, J. Enoch
Foster, John Leather, E. H. C. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Leavey, J. A. Profumo, J. D.
Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale) Leburn, W. G. Raikes, Sir Victor
Freeth, D. K. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Ramsden, J. E.
Garner-Evans, E. H. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Redmayne, M.
George, J. C. (Pollok) Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Remnant, Hon. P.
Gibson-Watt, D. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Renton, D. L. M.
Glover, D. Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Ridsdale, J. E.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan Llewellyn, D. T. Rippon, A. G. F.
Gower, H. R. Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Robertson, Sir David
Graham, Sir Fergus Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Grant, W. (Woodside) Lloyd-George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R.(Nantwich) Longden, Gilbert Roper, Sir Harold
Green, A. Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Gresham Cooke, R. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Russell, R. S.
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Gurden, Harold McCallum, Major Sir Duncan Sharples, R. C.
Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Macdonald, Sir Peter Shepherd, William
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) McKibbin, A. J. Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Soames, Capt, C.
Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macolesfd) McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Spearman, Sir Alexander
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Speir, R. M.
Harvie-Watt, Sir George Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster) Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)
Hay, John McLean, Neil (Inverness) Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Macmillan. Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Maddan, Martin Studholme, Sir Henry
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Summers, Sir Spencer
Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Holland-Martin, C. J. Markham, Major Sir Frank Teeling, W.
Holt, A. F. Marlowe, A. A. H. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Hope, Lord John Marples, A. E. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Hornby, R. P. Marshall, Douglas Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Horobin, Sir Ian Maude, Angus Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)
Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Maudling, Rt. Hon. R. Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.
Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Medlicott, Sir Frank Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Howard, John (Test) Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Touche, Sir Gordon
Hughes Hallett Vice-Admiral J. Morrison, John (Salisbury) Turner, H. F. L.
Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Hulbert, Sir Norman Nabarro, G. D. N. Vane, W. M. F.
Hurd, A. R. Nairn, D. L. S. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Neave, Airey Vickers, Miss J. H.
Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H. Nicholls, Harmar Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Iremonger, T, L. Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch) Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Nugent, G. R. H. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Oakshott, H. D. Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Whitelaw, W. S. I.(Penrith & Border)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Joseph, Sir Keith Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Page, R. G. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Keegan, D. Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale) Wood, Hon. R.
Kerby, Capt. H. B. Partridge, E. Woollam, john Victor
Kerr, H. W. Peyton, J. W. W. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Kershaw, J. A. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Kirk, P. M. Pilkington, Capt. R. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES :
Lambert, Hon. G. Pitman, I. J. Mr. Heath and
Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.