HC Deb 26 June 1957 vol 572 cc206-7
35. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to what extent, in view of the reference to the Middle East in the Prime Minister's reply to Prime Minister Bulganin, he is now prepared to abandon the policy of building up positions of strength in the Middle East in conjunction with the Americans, through the Bagdad Pact, and to substitute a policy of co-operation with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as well as the United States of America, for keeping the peace, controlling the traffic in arms, giving economic and technical aid and settling outstanding issues, on the basis of our common obligations as members of the United Nations.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Her Majesty's Govment have no intention of abandoning their policy of full support for the Bagdad Pact. In regard to the second part of the Question, Her Majesty's Govment are always ready, as members of the United Nations, to co-operate with any Government in genuine efforts to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Middle East or any other area.

Mr. Zilliacus

While thanking the right hon. Member for that reply, may I ask whether he believes that he can co-operate with the Soviet Union in the Middle East on the basis of the Bagdad Pact, which is an anti-Soviet alliance? Will not he attempt to negotiate on the Soviet proposals for international control of arms traffic, international economic and technical aid and a joint keeping of the peace through the United Nations? Will not the Government take some initiative or reply to the Soviet initiative in this matter?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The Bagdad Pact is not an anti-Soviet Pact. It is a defensive alliance by certain countries in that area. As for the rest of the hon. Member's Question, he must not confuse some of the propaganda statements of the Soviet Union with what they are in fact doing in this part of the world and with what they have been doing over the past ten or eleven years. Governments of both parties in the House have frequently sought co-operation on precisely those matters which the hon. Member lists, and they have not had a very good response.

Mr. H. Morrison

Does the right hon. Member think that it was in accordance with the spirit of Mr. Bulganin's letter that the Soviet Union should supply three submarines to Egypt, which presumably have the purpose of intensifying the blockade against the progressive Government of Israel?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

As I have already stated, I think that the sale of these submarines to Egypt runs entirely contrary to some of the statements made by Mr. Bulganin in his recent messages to the Prime Minister.