§ 7. Mr, A. Henderson
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the number of British ships which have exercised the right of free passage through the Gulf of Aqaba and whose destination was Elath in Israel.
§ 9. Mr. Janner
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the present position with regard to the recognition of the free passage of ships of every nationality through the Suez Canal and through the Straits of Tiran.
§ 15. Mr. E. Johnson
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the present policy of the United Nations in regard to implementing decisions of the United Nations about freedom for shipping of all nations in the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
The position of Her Majesty's Government remains as stated in the replies given to the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner) and to my hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury (Mr. Langford-Holt) on 8th April.
§ Mr. Janner
In view of the unequivocal nature of the decision of the Security Council with regard to Israel's right to 175 use the Canal, and in view of the fact that Egypt is deliberately flouting the decision of the United Nations in this regard, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us why he has not asked our representative at the United Nations to make a categorical statement in relation to this matter in the same way as those recently made by others at the meetings of the Security Council?
§ Mr. Lloyd
We maintain that the right of free navigation exists. I think that the question of any particular ships of any particular countries making use of that right is a matter for those who wish to charter such ships or to ship goods by them to that port. Her Majesty's Government have stated again and again that we regard it as the right of ships to sail freely through these waters.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that if the State of Israel asserted its right—within the decision of the United Nations in 1950 —to proceed through the Suez Canal or force a passage through the Gulf of Aqaba it could easily lead to a conflict? As everybody desires to avoid a conflict, 176 would it not be proper for the United Nations to seek to enforce the decision themselves by making representations to the Egyptian Government and continuing to make them until the right has been accepted?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. I think that this matter will be a test of the United Nations. At the moment, I do not think that the right of free passage through the Gulf of Aqaba has been challenged. As for the Suez Canal, I certainly hope that the matter will be dealt with in the arrangements finally achieved.
§ Mr. P. Williams
Does my right hon. and learned Friend's original reply mean that the Government still uphold unequivocally the six points of the October declaration?
§ Mr. Grimond
As ships are already using the Suez Canal, are the Government going to make a clear statement about their view upon the navigation of the Canal; whether British or Israeli ships are to be advised to use it; in what currency the dues are to be paid, and whether any further steps are to be taken to enforce the six points?
§ Mr. Lloyd
Certainly Her Majesty's Government will make a statement at the appropriate time. I spent three hours yesterday consulting the representatives of seventeen other nations representing the users of the Canal in connection with these matters. We shall make a statement at the appropriate time.