HC Deb 05 February 1957 vol 564 cc238-40
47. Mr. Arthur Henderson

asked the Prime Minister what consultations were held with President Eisenhower and the French Prime Minister as joint signatories of the Declaration before announcing that the Tripartite Declaration of 1950 did not now apply to Egypt; and on what date they indicated their concurrence.

The Prime Minister

Neither I nor my predecessor had any personal discussions on this subject with President Eisenhower or the French Prime Minister. The House will already be aware that tripartite discussions between representatives of the three Governments took place in Washington on 28th and 29th October. On the applicability of the Tripartite Declaration to Egypt, I would refer the right hon. and learned Gentleman to the Answer given to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on 17th December.

Mr. Henderson

Have the United States Government at any time given any indication that in their view the 1950 Declaration does not now apply to Egypt?

The Prime Minister

If the right hon. and learned Gentleman will refer to the reply given on 17th December last, he will find that the Minister of State said that the inapplicability of this Declaration was discussed with representatives of the United States and France on 29th October, and that there was general agreement with this view.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

In view of the fact that all the original documents about the Tripartite Declaration were published, and of the further fact that the Prime Minister, in a speech to the American Congress last year, explained how we would with the Americans implement the Declaration, and the fact that other Ministers spoke about it later, would it not now be desirable that all the exchanges about the lapsing of the Declaration should be published so that the nation can judge.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I do not think that that is at all necessary. The fact is that the Egyptian Government made it quite clear that they were unwilling to accept the implications of the Declaration.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Since the Declaration was not made for the benefit of Egypt, but in order to protect the world from war in the Middle East, is it not desirable that the nation should know why this most important agreement was brought to an end?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I think the Declaration must, if it really is to protect countries, have some regard to the wishes of the countries concerned.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is the Prime Minister not aware that the Egyptian attitude to the Tripartite Declaration was made perfectly clear in 1954, and that, after that, his predecessor as Prime Minister repeatedly declared his support for the Tripartite Declaration?

The Prime Minister

It is true that this general view on its inapplicability was agreed both by the Americans and the French.