HC Deb 14 July 1958 vol 591 cc823-4
Mr. Bevan

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make about the position in Iraq, in view of our treaty relationships with that country.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

I have little to add to Press and wireless reports. A telegram received from Her Majesty's Ambassador in Baghdad at 7.30 a.m. this morning reported that Baghdad Radio was in the hands of a revolutionary Government and had announced the establishment of an Iraqi Republic with Brigadier Abdul Karim Qasim as Prime Minister.

The whereabouts of the King, Crown Prince and Nuri Said were unknown and there had been some fighting round the Palace, where the King was believed to have been in residence. There were considerable demonstrations in the streets. The United Kingdom Information Office and Consular Section building, which was surrounded by crowds, was evacuated.

Her Majesty's Ambassador added that Baghdad Radio had broadcast an appeal to respect foreign Missions. All Embassy staff and families were safe and he had advised the British community to stay at home. Nothing, however, has been heard from the Embassy since 9 a.m., when it was reported that they would not be sending further messages for the time being owing to the presence of rioters in the courtyard.

A telegram despatched at 10 a.m. this morning has been received from the Officer Commanding the Royal Air Force at Habbaniya that all was well with British personnel there.

I will, of course, keep the House informed of further developments.

Mr. Bevan

As the situation is confused and so unclear that no definite judgment can yet be formed as to what has happened, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman keep the House informed of developments there, and take steps to see that British lives are safe?

Mr. Lloyd

Certainly. I think that while the situation is so unclear we would be wise to abstain from comment on it.

The second part of the right hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is very much in the mind of the Government.