HC Deb 18 December 1958 vol 597 cc1304-5
46. Mrs. Castle

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the damage to Great Britain's national reputation by the allegations, of which notice has officially been taken, to the effect that British Ministers were informed on 10th October, 1956, of the intention of Israel to attack Egypt with the assistance of France, he will publish a White Paper setting out the facts.

57. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the harm caused to the national reputation by the recent Press allegations, of which official notice has been taken, about the military and political conduct of the attack on Suez, including inefficiency, miscalculation, collusion, and misleading the House and the country, he will appoint a Select Committee to institute an inquiry into these allegations and related issues.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mrs. Castle

n view of the further facts about Suez given by Mr. Randolph Churchill in today's Daily Express, which seem to show that his allegations have not been without substance, would the Prime Minister state clearly and unequivocally to the House that no member of the present Government was aware in advance of Israel's intention to attack Egypt with the connivance of France?

The Prime Minister

All these matters have been rebutted in debate, and I have nothing to add to what was said by my precedessor both two years ago and recently.

Mrs. Castle

Rebut them now.

Mr. Younger

Is the Prime Minister aware that what has been said in debate have been simply ex parte statements by Ministers who were themselves concerned, and that what we want is evidence? Is he aware that nobody will ever be convinced by statements from that bench opposite unsupported by the evidence, and that that is why we want a White Paper?

The Prime Minister

If hon. Members are not prepared to accept my statement, I cannot see the point of asking me to make one.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Will not the right hon. Gentleman give a clear answer to the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle)? It is a simple question which could really be answered either "Yes" or "No"

The Prime Minister

This matter was discussed in detail and my predecessor made the position perfectly clear two years ago, I think on 16th December. I have nothing to add to his statement.

Mr. Zilliacus

Will the Prime Minister, in the light of the information now available, at least reconsider the remark he made in Washington on 11th June, when he said that the Suez campaign was sound, honourable and justified? Is that still his opinion.

The Prime Minister

Yes. I said perfectly frankly what I believed to be the broad view of the British people—then and now.

Mr. Jay

Would it not save future discussion if the Prime Minister were to answer "Yes" or "No" to my hon. Friend's question?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, because this matter is perfectly clear. These accusations have been made and I do not accept them to be true.