HC Deb 10 April 1957 vol 568 c1115
39. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what information he has received from the United Nations salvage organisation about the clearance of mines from the Suez Canal.

Mr. Watkinson

I am not aware that there is any question of mines being laid in the Suez Canal itself, but the Secretary-General of the United Nations was asked for information about mines in the northern part of the Gulf of Suez. We have not yet received a definitive reply from the Secretary-General, but we understand that the clearance of mines is in progress.

Mrs. Castle

Is the Minister aware that according to The Times of this morning, General Wheeler has now announced that the Suez Canal is now completely clear? Is he also aware that at this very moment ships of more than 10,000 tons, including Belgian and Italian tankers, are on their way through the Canal? In view of that, will he please make it clear to British shipping that there is no longer any objection to their using this vital lifeline of imperial trade and communications?

Mr. Watkinson

The hon. Lady is not quite correct, because General Wheeler is responsible only for the Canal and I am referring to the Gulf of Suez.