HC Deb 08 April 1957 vol 568 cc792-4
28. Mr. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the result of the representations made by Her Majesty's Government to the United Nations Organisation and the present position in respect of freedom of passage of ships of all nationalities through the Suez Canal and the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

On the Suez Canal, I have nothing to add to what the Prime Minister said on 1st April. We have made no representations to the United Nations on freedom of passage through the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba, but Her Majesty's Government's position was made quite clear to the General Assembly by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of State on 4th March.

Mr. Janner

Dealing with the first part of the reply, will the right hon. Member say whether he is not satisfied that it is pure hypocrisy on the part of Egypt to refuse to allow Israeli ships to go through the Suez Canal, in view of the declaration of the Security Council and Article 25 of the Charter? Turning to the second part, will he do the same, or encourage doing the same, as the Americans have done—by encouraging British ships to carry oil through the Straits of Tiran in order that the position may be further established?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Replying to the first part of the supplementary question, it is certainly our case that there should be no discrimination against the shipping of any country going through the Suez Canal. Replying to the second part of the supplementary question, we have declared that we believe this to be an international waterway and that there is right of free passage for the ships of all nations through this waterway. We have stated that we will exercise that right through those Straits.

Mr. E. Fletcher

Would the Minister confirm that although Israel has apparently now established a right of passage for ships in the Gulf of Aqaba, that should in no way prejudice her right with all other countries to free passage through the Suez Canal?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

That is perfectly true.

Mr. Gower

Are we making it clear that in this country we consider that it would be intolerable if Israel had to endure another long period of years in which, as has been the case, none of her ships were allowed to pass through these international waterways?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Yes, Sir.

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