HC Deb 17 April 1957 vol 568 cc1900-1
10. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now make a statement on the consultations which have been taking place with other Governments on the draft proposals of the Egyptian Government with regard to the Suez Canal.

29. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what progress has been made in respect of a new international agreement with the Egyptian Government on the future usage of the Suez Canal.

34. Mr. E. Flectcher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what are now the intentions of Her Majesty's Government for arranging for the passage of British ships through the Suez Canal.

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

I regret I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Mr. Henderson

In view of the time that these consultations are taking to reach finality, is it not time that the Security Council should be asked to consider the Egyptian proposals in the light of the six principles which they accepted last October? Is it not a matter of great urgency, in view of the fact that the Canal has now been cleared of all obstacles?

Mr. Lloyd

I quite agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman about the urgency of the matter. The difficulty is that these proposals have not yet been finalised. I certainly do not exclude the possibility to which he has referred.

Mr. E. Fletcher

What is the position with regard to British shipowners who want to send their ships through the Canal? Are they free to do so or are they waiting advice from Her Majesty's Government, and are Her Majesty's Government being advised by the Marquess of Salisbury as to what attitude should be adopted?

Mr. Lloyd

The advice given to British shipowners remains as already stated.

Mr. J. Eden

Will my right hon. and learned Friend assure the House that no decision will be taken by Her Majesty's Government until every effort has been made to obtain full agreement with other interested countries? Will he also ensure that every effort is made by Her Majesty's Government's representative at the United Nations to bring the whole matter of Nasser's intransigence before the Security Council before we accede to any further demands?

Mr. Lloyd

We shall certainly remain in close consultation with those who have interests similar to ours.

Mr. Sorensen

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman, therefore, at least say that he has been in constant contact with the American Government about the possible emergence of an international agreement?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir.