HC Deb 19 February 1958 vol 582 cc1189-90
33. Mr. Benn

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action Her Majesty's Government have taken following the Tunisian complaint at the Security Council; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

As the House will know, Her Majesty's Government as well as the United States Government offered their good offices both to France and Tunisia and the Governments of those countries have accepted. In view of this, the debate in the Security Council was yesterday adjourned indefinitely.

Mr. Benn

I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for that answer and for the initiative which the Government have taken in this matter. Will he undertake to look at the most difficult question of all, which is the continued presence in Tunisia of 20,000 French troops by virtue of the old Protectorate Treaty, but under no international agreement, which is one of the greatest causes of difficulty between the two countries?

Mr. Lloyd

It is well known to the House that there are a number of matters in dispute between the two Governments, and we have offered our good offices.

Mr. P. Williams

Would not my right hon. and learned Friend agree that there is considerable sympathy in this country with the rôle which France is trying to carry out in North Africa?

Mr. Lloyd

I am glad to acknowledge the special position of France in North Africa and the importance to this and to other countries of friendly relations between France and the people of North Africa.

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