HC Deb 13 May 1957 vol 570 cc15-6
29. Mr. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Egypt has yet intimated to the United Nations that she is prepared to comply with her obligations under the Charter of the United Nations not to impede Israeli ships from passing through the Suez Canal.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I have not seen any statement going beyond the Memorandum of 24th April that Egypt will respect the terms and spirit of the 1888 Convention.

Mr. Janner

In the event of Egypt not respecting the Charter in the manner which is accepted on this point and insisted upon by the declaration of the Security Council, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman take steps to see whether it is possible that a nation which flouts the decisions of the Security Council shall not have the opportunity of bringing any pleas to the United Nations until she satisfies the requirements of the Security Council?

Mr. Lloyd

I certainly agree that that is a consideration which should affect the value attached by other members of the United Nations to any plea brought forward by such a country.

Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas

Do the Government recognise that the exclusion by Egypt of Israeli shipping from the Suez Canal is in breach of international law, in breach of the United Nations and in breach of the 1888 Convention, and is it part of the Government's policy to secure a passage for Israeli ships through the Suez Canal in accordance with the Charter?

Mr. Lloyd

Our view is that under the 1888 Convention, Israeli ships are entitled to go through the Canal. The Government of Egypt, I understand, take up the position that Israeli ships are not so entitled under that Convention. I think it would be very much better if we could get the problem legally determined as soon as possible.

Captain Waterhouse

Does not my right hon. and learned Friend think that it would have been highly convenient if right hon. and hon. Members opposite, and especially the Leader of the Opposition, had thought of these things at the beginning of November?

Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas

Do not hon. Members opposite recognise that our attitude in supporting the passage of Israeli ships through the Canal is based on our support of international law, exactly as our opposition to the Suez invasion arose from our support of the rule of law?

Mr. Bevan

Is it not quite clear that the action of the Government last October in using force against Egypt has now left the Government party with nothing at all but to argue international law?

Mr. Lloyd

I think it would have been very much better if some of these considerations had been in the minds of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite earlier.

32. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now make a statement on the recent consultations with regard to the Government of Egypt's Declaration on the future status of the Suez Canal.

38 and 40. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) why he has again advised British ships not to use the Suez Canal;

(2) if he will make a statement on the last meeting of the Canal Users' Association.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I would ask the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) and the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) to await the statement which the Prime Minister will make at the end of Question Time.

Mr. Hughes

While the Prime Minister is putting on his white sheet, can the Foreign Secretary say whether he intends to resign?

Mr. Lloyd

I can think of quite a lot of white sheets the hon. Member ought to wear.