19. Mr. Philips Price
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has considered the report of the Oil Committee of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation about safeguarding European oil supplies; and how far steps are being taken either by the construction of larger tankers or by any other method to obviate interruption of oil supplies in the event of difficulties in the Middle East.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
The report is at present being studied by Her Majesty's Government. About one-third of the tankers at present under construction or on order are of 40,000 tons deadweight 1198 or over; there is also a substantial number of tankers laid up at the moment. Stocks of oil in the United Kingdom are considerably higher today than before the Suez crisis, and other measures for strengthening the position further are under consideration.
Is it not desirable that we should be less dependent upon the Suez Canal for our oil supplies, especially in view of what has happened on the Egyptian-Sudanese frontier in the last 48 hours?