HC Deb 03 April 1957 vol 568 cc400-1
51. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Israel in regard to the construction of an oil pipeline from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Mediterranean.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

None, Sir.

Mr. Johnson

In view of the very urgent need to find every possible alternative route for bringing oil to Western Europe, will not my right hon. Friend go into this matter with the other Western European nations and the United States, the more so in view of the refinery standing almost idle at Haifa?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I think my hon. Friend knows that there are considerable difficulties in this proposal and it is something for the Government of Israel to initiate—not Her Majesty's Government in this country.

Mr. Dugdale

Does that answer mean that no request for any financial assistance has been received from the Israeli Government? Would not it be very much cheaper to build such a line than to build the proposed pipeline through Turkey?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

No request has been received. The second supplementary of the right hon. Gentleman is a very much wider question and I do not think I ought to comment on it now.

Mr. Langford-Holt

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the difficulties he mentioned are of a political or mechanical naure? Secondly, can he say whether it is the Government's policy to restrain any private company or individual who sought to perform such an operation?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The Government would not try to restrain any private company; but what we are asked is whether there have been consultations between the Israeli Government and Her Majesty's Government on this particular project. There have been no such consultations.

Mr. Philips Price

In view of the political situation in the Middle East, would not it be much wiser to seek other ways for a pipeline than this one mentioned in the Question, particularly the one through Turkey?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Yes, Sir. That is the view of Her Majesty's Government.

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