§ Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—[Mr. Heath.]
§ 7.1 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)
When I spoke to the House last night I hoped that the situation in Jordan, critical and threatening though it appeared to be, could be held stable for a further period. This would at least have allowed the Foreign Secretary to complete the consultations about the whole situation in the Middle East which he is now having in Washington. But events moved too fast. I will tell the House exactly what happened.
It was not until five minutes before I ended my speech in the debate last night that my Private Secretary, who was in the Official Box, was told that an urgent telegram had arrived from Amman. A copy of it, decoded, in manuscript was given to me as I was about to go home with my wife from the debate.
That was the first I heard of this appeal for help, and I immediately summoned a Cabinet meeting. Because some of the Ministers had dispersed from the House, this did not in fact begin until round about 11 o'clock. The Service Ministers and the Chiefs of Staff were present. Our final conclusions were reached after a discussion of nearly three hours, in the course of which there were naturally some adjournments, and I had to make two communications by telephone to Washington.
I will not repeat the subsequent facts, the nature of the appeal and the Government's decision, which I have already stated to the House earlier today. But I thought that the House would like me to give it the latest position, which is that following the arrival of a small advance party this morning further landings on Amman airfield are now in progress and the build up of our assistance is proceeding satisfactorily. Initially we are flying in about 2,000 troops of the Parachute Brigade. Meanwhile, I am informed that the situation in Jordan is quiet. In the light of circumstances, we will decide whether that number requires increasing.
As I said to the House yesterday, in all these questions of great difficulty and 1507 gravity it is necessary to consider both the legal and the moral aspects, and also the wisdom of any action, or inaction. Legally, there can be no doubt that We were absolutely justified in acceding to the Jordanian request. Morally, I would say that we were bound in honour to go to the help of a small and friendly country whom we have helped so much in the past.
I hope that the House will bear with me if I rehearse again some of the arguments which I deployed yesterday in the different context of Lebanon. The situations are, indeed, similar although not identical. The similarity consists in that in both cases legitimate, friendly Governments requested military assistance from their friends so as to enable them to preserve the independence and integrity of their countries. In both cases, these small countries were threatened with aggression organised from outside, and from the same source in both cases.
The action amounted to aggression in the most formal sense of this word. It is a word which has the sanction of the Resolution of the Assembly, No. 380 (v) in the year 1950, which runs:The General Assembly,Condemning the intervention of a State in the internal affairs of another State for the purpose of changing its legally established Government by the threat or use of force,Solemnly reaffirms that, whatever the weapons used, any aggression, whether committed openly or by fomenting civil strife in the interest of a Foreign Power, or otherwise, is the gravest of all crimes against peace and security throughout the world;What is different in the case of the Lebanon is that the subversive forces had brought about a situation approaching civil war, whereas in Jordan the atmosphere was outwardly calm. In the Lebanon, the situation had already been brought to the notice of the United Nations and the United Nations Observer Group was in position, whereas in Jordan no such appeal had yet been made.
There was one further difference: the threat to the Lebanon was indeed imminent and grave, but perhaps of a somewhat general character. In Jordan, however, there was precise information of a definite plot whose foreign authors had ordered it into operation today. This was the information whch the Jordanian 1508 Government communicated to us last night and of which we had independent corroboration from various sources.
When I told the hon. Members yesterday that we had evidence of subversion and foreign intervention in the Lebanon, I asked the House to accept my word for it, and I think that any right hon. Gentleman who has held high office will take my word for it. At any rate, the information which we had has been largely confirmed by a broadcast from Bagdad radio announcing a revolution in Jordan. This is what it said:A revolution has started in Iraq and one in the Lebanon, and tomorrow another revolution will start in Jordan.It was in the light of all this that we had to make our decision last night. What were we to do? Appeal to the United Nations? But that would not have stopped a plot so confidently predicted on the Bagdad radio. Shrugged our shoulders, passed by, and said, "Well, it is not our affair."
As I said yesterday, the temptations to inaction can be very great. An appeal to the United Nations is being made by the Jordanian Government today, asking that the Council should immediately consider a complaint by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan of interference in its domestic affairs by the United Arab Republic. We, too, in a manner similar to that adopted by our American allies, after taking immediate, emergency action, are reporting our action to the United Nations and suggesting proposals for the future. The preliminary discussions will no doubt be taken shortly.
On moral grounds, it seems to me that the position is absolutely clear, and I hope that it will be clear to and accepted by the House as a whole. Whatever criticism may be made against our action, I do not believe that it could be held to be either illegal or dishonourable. Of course, as I said yesterday, the difficulties are very great in these decisions. The difficulty was not a moral or legal one; it was a practical one. The House will understand the military difficulties of sending troops to the aid of a country which has no port immediately accessible and of supplying them when they are there.
There is also the obvious doubt, to which hon. Members drew attention yesterday, about what the future would 1509 hold. The argument of convenience in favour of doing nothing was certainly very strong, and I know that some hon. Members yesterday took the view that military action might produce temporary advantage, but in the long run would be sterile or even positively harmful. But the immediate result of refusing this request might well have been the overthrow of yet another small and independent country in addition to the melancholy list of such States which have suffered this fate in our lifetime. With the end of Jordanian independence, what other countries in the Arab world could have maintained their freedom? I do not believe that hon. Members on either side of the House really wish to see a dictatorship established in the name of Arab nationalism and stretching all across the broad lands of the Middle East. To help to preserve Jordanian independence was perhaps a limited objective, but there is reason to hope that by achieving this aim we may at least reassure the other independent Arab countries and States.
In making this decision, the Government were heartened by the assurances which I received last night from the United States. The Secretary of State assured me that the action which we were contemplating would have the full moral support of the United States and that he believed it to be right. Furthermore, the United States undertook, as an earnest of their good will and to assist the Jordanian Government to combat aggression, to send today a reconnaissance flight over Jordan to precede the landing of our troops. What final reply will be decided to the similar appeal made to the United States Government by Jordan will, no doubt, be a subject of discussion between the Foreign Secretary and the authorities in Washington.
It may be asked—and, of course, this is the question which I and my colleagues had to ask ourselves—in whose interests were we intervening? It may be said, should we not let this revolutionary movement take over Jordan as well as Iraq and, perhaps, other places, one after the other, and then make terms with it? That is the question which we examined fully yesterday. It was a question, as I say, of which course was prudent and wise. The argument for standing aside and doing nothing would be different if these movements were genuine, popular 1510 and constitutional changes. But this is not a process of genuine evolutionary change. It is part of the pattern of conspiracy and subversion of which, as I told the House yesterday, we have not only evidence but actual experience in territories for which we are responsible.
What the future will be I cannot tell. But I believe that it cannot be worse than if we had merely stood aside and hoped for the best. We must face this problem as a practical and moral one. It is not right to abandon one's friends in times of trouble. It is not right to turn a blind eye to the fate of independent nations, however small they may be. Of course, we would have been far better pleased if all this could be left, as perhaps it may ultimately, we trust, to the protecting hand of the United Nations. Indeed, that was the original concept of the Security Council, with its military committee and with forces at its command, when it was planned to be the instrument for preserving the peace of the world and preventing things of this kind happening.
Alas, as things are now, this is the problem which presents itself and which we have to face. If we or other countries do not act immediately, then it may well be that the United Nations can act only too late. Moreover, because of the experience perhaps of the old League of Nations, because of the novelty of this great concept which was hammered out after the war, there is preserved in the structure of the United Nations the old customary right of action in a crisis in self defence. The structure of the Charter preserves the customary law by which aid may be given to a nation of the kind which I have described and in circumstances of difficulty of which we are all well aware. I do not believe that either the spirit or the letter of the United Nations Charter takes away the customary, traditional right and, I would add, duty to prevent disasters of this kind. If it were so, then the United Nations would not be the protector of the victim, but the condoner of aggression, and that is surely not what we want it to be.
A question has been raised about the precise position of the Arab Union of the Kingdom of Iraq and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Article 2 of the agreement of association makes it clear 1511 that each member State of the Union shall retain its international status and its existing state of Government. Therefore, I should make it clear that it is to the Kingdom of Jordan that we are sending our help in this time of need.
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition very fairly warned me yesterday that I could not assume that the Opposition would support the dispatch of British troops to Jordan to suppress the revolt in Iraq. That is certainly not the purpose of the small force which we have sent. It may be argued that by helping at the centre, the Jordanian forces would be released for operations further afield. I can only reply that here again, whatever the future may bring, I think that right hon. and hon. Members should have regard to the logistical and practical implications involved. It may, of course, be that the Iraqi revolution will fail or that a counter revolution will take place; I do not know. But our purpose is simple and clear. It is to prevent the revolution from spreading by this system of conspiracy and aggression to envelop Jordan and the Jordanian territory, and prevent its success.
I must add that, in making their request, the Jordanian King and Government said that they had no intention that the British troops should be used to release Jordan forces to attack Iraq. That obligation remains with them, and it is upon this basis that we have decided to send our help.
Sir, we have not a very long time for a very grave debate, and I do not think that I have very much to add, in any case, to what I have said. I have given the House what information I have in my possession as to the facts. I have tried to give the House a clear picture of why we acted when we took this decision last night, or in the early hours of this morning. It is, indeed, the most difficult decision that I personally ever remember having to take, or being asked to take, or being associated with. I do not know whether we shall succeed in our limited objective. I cannot predict to the House the future course of events. All the same, I believe that we had no option in what we have done, and I am confident in the moral justification of our action. I believe that the House, and the country, will endorse it.
§ 7.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Gaitskell (Leeds, South)
Our debate yesterday was marked by a seriousness, a gravity and a calmness that was worthy of the occasion and of our traditions in this House. I am sure that, again, today, discussing, as we are, the new developments, hon. Members on all sides of the House, however much they may differ from each other, will wish to preserve the same sense of dignity and seriousness that was so evident yesterday.
That the situation with which we are confronted this evening is graver, much graver, than it was yesterday, would not, I think, be denied by any of us. It is graver for three reasons: first, because intervention by Western forces has been extended to Jordan; secondly, because, for the first time in this episode, our own troops—British troops—are involved, happily not, so far as I am aware, in action but with the risk that they may be in action; and thirdly, because there has been a Soviet reaction since yesterday.
I do not propose to discuss at any length the questions of international law. I dare say that a good case can be made out for the right of a Government to go to the assistance of another Government when that other Government believe that they are threatened with internal revolt and, still more, of course, with external aggression. Nevertheless, I would wish to make a few comments on the specific arguments put forward in this matter by the Prime Minister.
The Jordan Government, in their announcement, their appeal to us and to the Americans, have specifically referred to the United Nations Charter, and to Article 51. Article 51, of course, provides for the right of self-defence, or collective self-defence against armed attack. None of us, in any quarter of the House, would deny that there may be circumstances in which, in the event of armed attack, it is right and proper, and fully justifiable, not only for the Government of the country that is attacked but for their allies to go to the defence and assistance of the country attacked even before the matter has been referred to the Security Council. The Article in question, of course, insists that a reference should be made to the Council as quickly as possible, and that, if the Council so decides, then, of course, its decisions must be accepted.
1513 But we have to ask ourselves whether, in existing circumstances, that Article can legitimately be pleaded, and I must say that I have some serious doubts on that. It may be said by some hon. Members, "Do we really need to worry a great deal about this?" I think that we must worry about it, because if other Governments, in other circumstances, are to treat the obligation of prior reference to the Security Council, except in the case of armed attack, as a matter of no importance, it seriously undermines the whole basis of the Charter, of the idea of international law and order; and, in circumstances where surprise attacks are the most dangerous of all, this cannot be ignored.
I must, therefore, ask whether it was really necessary that before this complaint, this appeal by Jordan, had been considered at all by the Security Council, the Government should have felt so compelled to take action. They believed and, of course, we accept the Prime Minister's remarks on this subject, that there was a danger of an attack of some kind from outside. The Prime Minister has not been able to give us—and I realise the difficulties—any precise details. We are in some difficulty here, on this side of the House, because subsequent discussion has thrown very grave doubts on the allegations of the American Government in regard to the Lebanon.
The House will no doubt be aware of the statement made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the Security Council yesterday, in which he said:The Members of Council will this morning find before them an interim repot from the Observation Group in Lebanon, which they have sent by cable, setting out the complete success with which they have met in their arrangements for inspection all along the Lebanese border. The fact that this result—of which I gave a first, short indication in my statement yesterday—is reached at this stage, that is to say the day of the renewed debate in the Security Council and the landing of U.S. units, is a coincidence, the results achieved by the United Nations yesterday being the logical and successful outcome of its previous efforts. It is my feeling—the Secretary-General went on:that with the result thus achieved, the Observation Group is fully equipped to play the part envisaged for it in the total U.N. effort, with its general purpose of ensuring against infiltration and smuggling of arms.1514 If, however, the Government say "Well, it was not so much the fear of aggression from outside but the fear of a coup d'état internally," I must ask this. The Prime Minister referred this afternoon to the desirability of the aim of preventing something happening in Jordan that had happened in Iraq. What happened in Iraq was that the Army took control, and made a revolution. Certainly, it was a brutal revolution, but the basic fact here was the inability of the Iraqi Government to rely on its Army.
Are we to understand that it was the belief of Her Majesty's Government that King Hussein could not rely on his own Army? If he could rely on his Army, was the danger of the coup d'état so urgent that we had, in advance of the Security Council discussion, to send in our forces? If it was so urgent, because the King could not rely on the Army, are we not involving ourselves in a very dangerous position?
I do not make light of the very grave difficulty of being sure in a matter of this kind, but I do not think that one can quite dismiss it as a question of preserving Jordanian independence. The Government of Jordan, whatever our views of it may be is certainly not a democratic Government. It is not an elected Government in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a form of dictatorship. At the moment it is friendly to us because it feels itself threatened in some way, but not long ago it was not quite so friendly when it bundled us out and denounced the treaty which we had with it.
And reverting again for a moment to the other argument—the argument of the danger of attack from outside—on the evidence available to us it is very hard to believe that it was necessary to send troops in before there was any visible sign, at any rate, of that attack across the frontier.
However, it is again not so much the legality of this position which we question as its wisdom, and I think all of us will agree on the difficulty of coming to a conclusion in this matter. But I wish to put once more and in sharpened focus our apprehensions.
First of all, it cannot be denied that we are sending our forces, a small force 1515 at the moment which may become larger, to an area with which there is no clear and simple line of communication. The only direct contact that we have is by air. Here I would ask the Prime Minister whether, in fact, the Israeli Government have consented to the transit over Israel of our planes and forces. There are conflicting accounts of this. I understand that a statement was made tonight saying that Israel had, in fact, protested against the use of the air above Israel for this purpose.
There are further considerations of a more or less purely military kind. Suppose—which we hope will not be the case—our forces in this area become involved in conflict. How do we reinforce them? How do we maintain supplies? Suppose—and again we all trust this will not be the case—they become involved in an even more difficult position. In what manner can we withdraw them?
We may assume, first of all, perhaps, that this operation is confined to Jordan. On that basis, however, I must again ask the questions that I asked last night about the American landing in the Lebanon. How long is it contemplated that our forces will stay in this bridgehead—if that is the word—in this part of the Middle East where they have been sent in order to preserve the existing Government of Jordan? Is it intended that they remain indefinitely? Is it contemplated that we shall have so stabilised the position that it will be possible to withdraw them? Do hon. Members—do the Government—really imagine that after this episode and in the light of all the background that we know exists in the Middle East, it is very likely that we shall be able to withdraw, leaving behind a stable, democratic and pro-Western Government in Jordan? I find it very hard to imagine that such a prospect is in any way a real one if, as my assumption goes, we confine our activities to Jordan alone.
Yesterday, as the Prime Minister said, we gave certain warnings. We admitted, indeed we registered, that we had certain treaty obligations and also that it was legitimate for us to intervene if it was necessary to save British lives—for that purpose alone. But, as the Prime Minister said, I went on to say that the Government 1516… must not assume that the Opposition can support or acquiesce in the use of British farces to aid the Government of Jordan to suppress the revolt in Iraq."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th July, 1958; Vol. 591, c. 1264.]I deliberately referred to that because there had been a number of reports in the Press that the purpose of King Hussein's forthcoming request to us was to enable him to suppress the revolt in Iraq. The Prime Minister has referred to the exact legal position. He says that this assistance is being given to King Hussein as the King of Jordan. But we cannot ignore the fact that King Hussein has proclaimed himself King of Jordan and Iraq. Nor can we overlook the fact that he has broadcast an appeal to the people of Iraq to revolt against the present Government there. Nor again can we ignore the plans which are reported that he hopes to advance into Iraq.
The latest statement on this, which I must say gives me some concern, is one that has been made by the Jordan Ambassador in London tonight. He said in announcing the fact that United States had acceded to the request by Jordan for military aid and that the arrival of such aid was expected at any moment, that Britain had been asked to send troops to defend Jordan's borders. But he added:It was the prerogative of King Hussein to decide on the measures to counter the revolt in Iraq.I do not imagine for a moment, and I would not suggest that it was likely, that the particular forces that we have sent in would be used for this purpose. But there is not much difference between that and the use of British troops to hold the position in Amman while the Jordan Arab Legion marches into Iraq.
I do not feel myself that the argument about logistics which the Prime Minister put forward is, therefore, entirely relevant. In any case, if the American forces are also to land in Jordan, I am not so sure that the logistics are as difficult as is made out. We are accustomed to swift movement in modern war, and the movement even across considerable distances between Amman and the Jordan-Iraq frontier is one that could be undertaken by armoured forces pretty rapidly, and, needless to say, aircraft will make no difficulty about it.
The Prime Minister has reported an undertaking of some kind given by King Hussein. It seems to be, if I may say 1517 so, in some conflict with what the Ambassador from Jordan announced this evening, and I hope that when the right hon. Gentleman comes, as I believe he will, to say something at the end, he will try to clear this up. The plain fact is this. Supposing—which surely cannot be ruled out—that the Jordan Government decides after all—and King Hussein has proclaimed himself King of Jordan and Iraq—to advance into Iraq, is it really suggested that we could then withdraw our forces? We are fully committed to this thing now. That is the serious situation.
Why do we view this with so much apprehension? There are basically two reasons for it: first, because, as I said yesterday, intervention in Jordan alone, like intervention in the Lebanon, frankly does not make much sense even from a severely realistic point of view. I cannot see much argument for posting in Jordan for an indefinite period a limited number of British troops to preserve a particular régime in power in that country.
The country itself, we must not overlook, is singularly non-viable. When the union of Jordan and Iraq took place, many of us felt that there was a good deal to be said for it. It made possible, for instance, the movement of refugees from Jordan and it enabled the oil revenues to be shared. There will undoubtedly be in Jordan a considerable desire, if not to move the refugees, at least to secure some share in the oil revenues. The economic pressure may be quite serious.
The second reason why we view this with such anxiety is that whatever may be said against—I have a good deal of agreement with this—the methods which are being adopted by the revolutionaries, it is a stark fact that none of us can deny that no other movement in these Arab countries commands any popular support whatever. I wish it were not so, but one cannot dismiss the activities of the revolutionaries as a kind of artificial intervention in the affairs of the Arab States. As I said yesterday, we have to recognise the strong desire of these Arab peoples for unity with each other. I do not believe that this necessarily involves the domination of a single dictator—that remains to be seen—but that that tremendous desire and explosive force exists and is a real factor in the situation surely cannot possibly be denied.
1518 One other matter which we cannot ignore in the present circumstances is the attitude of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union has made a declaration in fairly general terms that it is not, and cannot be, indifferent to what is taking place. Soviet manœuvres on the Soviet-Persian frontier have been announced and there are reports of movements and of tanks and aircraft into that part of the world. This must make all of us view the situation with great gravity. The Prime Minister may be right in saying that it is a temptation to do nothing, but it can be a temptation to act too soon, too prematurely and precipitously.
As the days go by and the danger of a clash between Jordan forces and Iraq forces, and, behind them, Western forces on the one side, and Russian forces on the other side, increases, I beg the Government to pause and to consider seriously, even now, whether it would not be better to try to talk to the Soviet Union about the situation. Hon. Members may say that we will get nothing out of it, but if I am in any way right, if the danger exists, it is so colossal that we dare not miss any possible opportunity of averting it.
I know that these matters are being considered by the Security Council and we all await the results of its discussions, but I do not believe that discussions in the Security Council are enough. Now more than ever, some kind of Summit Conference is needed. I ask the Government to consider this and to bear it in mind in the coming days. Of course, it is not a matter to which one would expect any answer tonight.
I have tried this evening, as yesterday, to put our apprehensions soberly and calmly. Believe me, they are very real. What has happened in the last twenty-four hours has caused us very grave concern. We gave our warnings yesterday, we expressed our fears and it seems to us that these fears to some extent are already justified. For these reasons, we regard this latest move of the Government, however sincerely taken, as fraught with the gravest risks, both to our own interests and to the peace of the world.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe (Windsor)
I quite agree with the Leader of the Opposition that whatever may be the differences of view about these grave 1519 events as between one side of the House and the other, it is right that we should discuss these matters with a due sense of dignity, a due sense of propriety and, perhaps, if I may add it, a due sense of realism.
What are the realities of the situation which confronted this House as we have been discussing it both yesterday and today? The pace of events in the Middle East which we have witnessed in the last two or three days is not controlled by the United Nations. The events in the Middle East, whose oil supplies are vital to our life-blood and to our industrial capacity, are not shaped by a group of well-meaning, honourable statesmen from various nations sitting round a conference table at the United Nations. They are being shaped by the assassin's knife and bullet.
As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has just explained to the House, the situation which faced the Government was one of choosing speedy action or, on the other hand, taking the more easy path of refusing to take action at all. There are times when I believe speedy action to be essential and this is one of them. Moreover, once action is delayed, there comes a point beyond which, if the action is to be taken at all, it becomes increasingly difficult and has to be done on an increasing scale.
When, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister described to the House, both the King of Jordan, the United States Government and Her Majesty's Government received information of an intended coup against that country along the Bagdad pattern today, I beg the House, whatever view hon. Members may take about this, to believe that it is totally unrealistic to ask the United Nations to help in that crisis, because the United Nations by its very structure and composition is incapable of taking speedy action. To say that is not to make any unfair or unjust criticism of the United Nations. To ask the United Nations to take speedy action is, in fact, to ask the impossible.
Suppose that the King of Jordan had confined his request to the Security Council and suppose, to take the most favourable set of circumstances, there were no veto used and the Security 1520 Council met this afternoon and even authorised help for Jordan. How long would it have been before any effective help could have been forthcoming? Whence would the forces have come? Of what nations would they have been composed? How would they have been equipped? Who would have been the commander?
If my recollection is correct, it took over ten days before the first contingent of the United Nations expeditionary force landed at Port Said after the original resolution was passed. It took about a month before a force of 2,000 men was assembled at Port Said. Even then, it was able to function, if it could be said to have been operational at all, only because we and the French were in command of the base and were able to provide transport, food, equipment and all the other necessities of military life.
The limitations that are placed on effective action by the United Nations are only too clear. It has been brought out with even greater clarity in respect of the United Nations observer corps who went, on instruction from the Security Council, to the Lebanon a little time ago, with the express mandate to ensure, as the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) said, that there were no illegal supplies or infiltrations across the frontier.
How on earth, with the best will in the world, could a United Nations observer corps ensure anything of the sort? They had no force with which to ensure it. The rebels said to them, "You are allowed to observe only 16 kilometres out of 278". In any case, they did not observe what was going on in the night. There was no power to force the wishes of the United Nations against the wishes of the Lebanese rebels if the rebels decided to take that view. The Leader of the Opposition told us just now that the more recent report of the United Nations observers, which I believe he said was laid before the Security Council today, stated that they had now been up to other parts of the frontier. But I think that they were allowed up to the frontier to look at anything that really mattered only after the cease-fire in the Lebanon was agreed, and I doubt whether any cease-fire in the Lebanon would have been achieved had it not 1521 been for the intervention of the American marines.
To wait for the United Nations to take action, and to place all one's faith in that and that alone, is really inviting anyone, be he dictator or otherwise, who plans a coup to go right ahead, knowing quite well that provided the coup takes place by a subtle combination of internal subversion, with a little pressure but not too much pressure from outside, country after country in the Middle East, as the Prime Minister said today and yesterday, can gradually be lopped off and go outside any Western influence at all. Yesterday, Iraq, today Jordan, tomorrow the Lebanon, perhaps Libya next week or in a few months' time, and so right along the North African seaboard. It would seem to me that the flank of N.A.T.O. would look a little strange were that process to be completed.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
I am in sympathy with the hon. Member but I have the greatest difficulty in following what British interest we serve. We have oil in Iraq and we have interests there, but in Jordan, if we simply stay there, we are holding the ring for the rebels in Iraq. That is exactly what they would wish. If this revolution establishes itself in Iraq, does the hon. Member seriously think that Jordan has any long-term chance?
§ Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe
I find it equally difficult to follow the remarks of the hon. and learned Member. I should have thought that it was painfully clear that if Iraq has already been subjected to this sort of pressure, if the threat to the Lebanon had come off and if a coup d'état in Jordan had been tried and had been successful today, we should have had the most unfortunate situation, which the hon. and learned Member would understand very well, that the State of Israel, quite apart from other considerations, would be completely isolated in a geographical sense. All that we should have left would be Turkey and Pakistan and possibly Persia in the Northern tier of the Bagdad Pact. By intervention at the request of President Chamoun and of King Hussein in Jordan, Her Majesty's Government and the United States Government have acted quite rightly on moral, legal and strategic grounds to keep both the Lebanon and Jordan outside 1522 Nasser's fold. That seems to me wholly right and I entirely support that action.
All that I was saying before the hon and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) intervened was that the process of lopping off one country after another all the way round the Southern Mediterranean and right down the whole of the Arabian Peninsula to the Persian Gulf must be halted somewhere, sometime by somebody; and the sooner it is halted the better.
I listened yesterday to all the speeches in the debate, and particularly to the speeches of the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale and the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey). Their description of British policy in the Middle East and their allegation that we were backing the forces of reaction and holding down Arab nationalism are sheer fantasy. I should like to ask one or two questions of them. Do they claim that Syria today is more independent or less independent than she was before she joined the United Arab Republic? Do they really allege that Iraq and Jordan are less enlightened in their form of Government than Saudi Arabia or the Yemen? Who built Iraq?
§ Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe
Who built the modern State of Jordan? Who was responsible for the creation of the modern State of Iraq and who gave it its independence, and who was responsible for the modern State of Jordan? Britain has a very proud record in this matter. I do not see the logic of the argument that the pan-Arab movement is all right provided that it is led by Nasser but all wrong if it were to be led by King Hussein.
I believe that the swift move taken last night and in the early hours of the morning by Her Majesty's Government, in conjunction with the United States, will have very wide support in this country and in many other countries which realise that subversion is just as much a threat as the more conventional and concrete forms of open aggression which we have hitherto known. I hope that our action in Jordan, at the request of King Hussein, may well be a decisive move in halting a process which, if it were allowed to go on unchecked, step by step, might well lead to a situation of almost unimaginable gravity.
§ 7.59 p.m.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
I will not delay the House more than a minute or two. I do not want to enter into a discussion of the legality of the intervention of friendly Governments at the request of other friendly Governments who think themselves threatened, either internally or externally. There has always been such a right, and I would have thought for myself that it would be a poorer world and not a richer world in which the right of aid between nations was denied or thought to be immoral or thought to be illegal.
I remember days when I first came into this House when this question of requests by friendly Governments for aid in similar circumstances was not greeted by the Conservative Government of the day with exactly the clarity or enthusiasm which we have heard in yesterday's debate and today. I came into this House just before the Spanish Civil War became acute. There was there a legitimate Government which we recognised. Nobody questioned whether it was a democratic Government or not. Nobody denied that the revolt against it was sponsored and directed and assisted from outside. And the Spanish Government of that day did exactly what Jordan did last night and what the Lebanon did twenty-four hours before. I suppose it could be said that if we had responded then with the alacrity with which we have responded now, the world would have been saved twenty years of tragedy and 50 million human lives would have been saved. We did not do it, and it may be said against us on this side of the House today, "Well, why then are you taking the line you are taking now?"
I think the situation is very different now. If I thought the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister was right in his belief that these were not indigenous movements, that they were artificially created subversive movements, as the Franco revolution undoubtedly was, I would take a different view from the view I am taking tonight. However, I think we all have to recognise that this Arab upsurge of national feeling is not merely genuine and indigenous but is, on the whole, right. It is not merely that it is so strong that we cannot resist it. It is not merely that our intervention by force is likely to do more harm than good. It 1524 is that our intervention in these circumstances is, on the whole, an intervention on the wrong side. That is one point I want to make.
Now I would like to make a point about Israel. No one has got himself into more trouble with the House of Commons about Israel than I have in my time. I do not believe that anyone in Israel, or any friend of Israel outside Israel, has ever believed that she could permanently endure in a state of permanent conflict with her Arab neighbours. The tragedy of Israel since 1948 has been that so often her immediate necessities have been in conflict with her ultimate interests.
I would say that this Arab national revolution, which has almost succeeded and will certainly succeed tomorrow—I am using the word "tomorrow" in the sense in which I believe it was used by Bagdad yesterday, not as a chronological but as a rhetorical term—is bound to succeed in the end, and that the end may not be long delayed. On the surface, on a superficial examination, this might be thought to intensify the perils in which Israel stands from her Arab neighbours, but I do not believe myself that ultimately this is so. There is no permanent quarrel, no incurable conflict of interests, there has never been, between Israel and her Arab neighbours, united or divided.
The great difficulty has been the Arab obsession that Israel is not a natural State existing in its own right but is an artificial creation of the Western world to provide a re-entry by a backdoor to the colonisers and imperialisers, as they regard Western nations to be, who have been thrown out through the front door. It is this obsession that has to be removed, and together with that obsession there has been the kind of perfectly understandable inferiority complex that resulted from their military defeats, unexpected military defeats, in 1948 and last year.
It seems to me that if this perfectly natural and legitimate Arab urge for unity and freedom is successful, we may dissolve this psychological, obsessional complex which prevents the Arabs from talking business round a table in realistic terms with Israel.
If it is true—I do not know whether it is, and I hope the Prime Minister 1525 will tell us at the end of the debate—if it is true, as it is reported that Israel has protested against the violation of her air space in carrying through this operation, I myself would congratulate the Israeli Government on its decision and on its protest, because this may very well be a belated but realistic act which will enable the Arabs to realise that Israel is not their enemy and that Israel would be perfectly ready to play her part in a Middle Eastern federation in which all the component and constituent parts would share.
One final point. Against what background are these events to be judged? What is the proper criterion? What is the proper yardstick? Surely not the narrow, legalistic or juridical one. Surely we have to look at the plain, practical, commonsense of the matter. The world is divided into two blocs whose quarrel, if it breaks out into violence, will tear the world to tatters and perhaps bring the human race to final extinction in an act of universal suicide. We all know it. One does not want to be melodramatic or to over-dramatise the situation. These are the hard realistic facts, and we all know them. Surely the test to apply to any act of policy we take is: is this likely to make the situation generally worse or generally better? Does it make tension less or does it increase tension? Does it increase mutual jealousies, mutual suspicions, mutual hatreds, mutual fears, or does it lessen them?
Does the right hon. Gentleman think that if this had happened the other way, if it had been a Russian landing in some country, justified by the arguments and the juridical explanations which the Prime Minister has so lucidly given to us, that we in the West would not have reacted, and reacted strongly? Can we, for ten seconds, lift ourselves out of the climate of our own opinion, which is no doubt the right one, and look at this from the point of view of the Russians, which is no doubt the wrong one? It is a difficult operation. It involves the suppression of our own moral instincts and trying to understand moral instincts based on views very different from our own. But if we make that effort and try to understand what the Russians say about Hungary, which none of us 1526 believes, none of us accepts, none of us looks at in that way; if we look at it in their way, is there really any way in which we can distinguish between what the Russians say about Hungary and what the right hon. Gentleman said about Jordan? Are they not both the same case? I am not asking anybody to accept the Russian view, but the Russians are entitled to look at things, as we are, against the background of their own interests and their own beliefs.
Here, too, there was a country in which there was a revolt. Here, too, there was a country where a Government had little popular support. Here, too, was a country where revolution was taking place with great sympathy and some assistance from our side. Here, too, was a Government calling upon a Government of a similar Power and with a similar outlook to come and protect it. Article 51? General international law?
I do not say these things in order to invite anyone to justify what the Russians did in Hungary. I only ask the House to look at it from the point of view which I have invited it to apply, namely, is what we have done a thing likely to lower tension, or a thing likely to increase it? Does it make peace easier, or does it make peace harder? Surely, if we do these things with these justifications, we must expect some kind of reaction, so that the two opposing hostile blocks are brought closer together with less understanding than before.
The Russians have just recognised the new Iraq Government. If the Iraq Government now does what Jordan did, if it sends a request for assistance to the Soviet Union tonight, and if the Soviet Union lands troops in Iraq tomorrow morning, will we be able to object? Will we be able to criticise? Will we be able to go to the United Nations and say, "Look what the Communists have done"?
If we cannot object, or if our objection, if we make it, is laughed to scorn, as it would be, what has happened? In the most dangerous part of the world, the most explosive part of the world, we shall have brought the two hostile inimical States almost into direct conflict with one another, in order to achieve what? The hon. Member for Windsor (Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe) said that we could not let one country after another go and that at 1527 some time the process must stop. He tried to make a parallel with appeasement between the wars.
There is one fundamental difference. When Hitler overran Czechoslovakia, it was against the wishes of the Czechoslovak people, who failed to resist only because we prevented them. In all these countries about which we are talking, the revolution is impossible except with the active consent of a large proportion of the Arab peoples concerned. That is why they need troops from outside, and no sensible comparison can be drawn between the overrunning and the overthrow of country after country against the desires of those countries and the unification of a number of disparate countries, even by force, even by revolution, when at the basis of it there is the historic urge which ultimately is irresistible because it is based firmly and ineradicably in the hearts of the people themselves.
We take all these risks not merely to achieve nothing, but, in the end, on the wrong side. What the Americans did yesterday and what we did this morning is almost lunatic in its irresponsibility. Unless we can succeed in bringing these irresponsible adventures to an early end, we and not the Russians will be responsible for the world catastrophe which mill be bound to follow.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Sir Hamilton Kerr (Cambridge)
The right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) aptly said that the debate yesterday was conducted in a mood of seriousness and gravity. Today, likewise, the House has responded to that general mood. The House is often at its best when we are discussing these very great and very grave issues with each one of us searching his own conscience. While we discuss this great affair today, we ought to make it clear in our minds what we are trying to do.
For a few minutes I want to link my limited remarks to a phrase used by the Prime Minister yesterday when he said, "We are not against nationalism." How could we be against nationalism when each one of us, on either side of the House, is a patriot and jealous of the good name and reputation of our country? I suppose that each one of us 1528 is at once impressed by patriotism in another people.
We should respect and befriend nationalism in any part of the world, so long as it remains within international law and does not seek to upset or overset a country's neighbours. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), in a speech of usual eloquence, thought that there must be a difference between the present Arab nationalism and the nationalism which we found in the world before the Second World War.
Mussolini started as a good nationalist. Although we suspected him, we tolerated him so long as he raised the standard of living of his Italian people. However, his nationalism led to the attack on Abyssinia and the burning of helpless Abyssinians with mustard gas. When Hitler first came to power and entered the Rhineland—and I confess that I myself was one of those people at the time—people said that after all, if the Germans had been in Kent or on the Isle of Wight, we should have tried to drive them out and that the world would have supported us. However, the nationalism which then began its horrible career led to the attack on Austria, the overrunning of Czechoslovakia and, finally, that morning which all of us remember, 3rd September, when the tired, sad voice of Mr. Neville Chamberlain announced that we were at war.
§ Mr. John Hynd (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
I am following the comparison. Will the hon. Member make it clear by telling us which country in the Middle East has overrun which country in this case?
§ Sir H. Kerr
Certainly. In the next phase of my speech I will give a short description of that. However, I want to be brief so that I do not torture hon. Members.
When discussions were on foot for the possible evacuation of the Suez Canal, some of us felt that it would be very unwise indeed to move out of the area of the Middle East and create a power vacuum into which some other force might soon enter. We felt that in spite of world pressure and, indeed, American pressure, it would be better to hold our ground until our allies saw fit to participate in the Middle East and recognise their vital interest there.
Soon, the shadow of the Russian bear appeared in the Middle East. The hon. 1529 Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) asked what countries have been overrun. We have seen subversion in Syria. We have seen an attempt in the Lebanon. We have seen a recent attempt in Jordan and difficulties arising for us in many sheikdoms in the Persian Gulf, and now the Yemen. Even more, as we foresaw then, our French allies found their position in North Africa extremely endangered.
What has happened? Now a great Frenchman has been returned to power in the crisis of his country's history—
§ Sir H. Kerr
The hon. Member's Socialist Party voted for him. The hon. Member who so soundly defeated me in Oldham in 1945 might, if he had been a Frenchman, have voted for de Gaulle as a good Socialist. General de Gaulle, having a firm and declared policy, is more likely to reach agreement with the peoples of North Africa than the previous Governments, which have continuously vacillated on this matter.
§ Sir H. Kerr
At least de Gaulle's power is limited.
I now come to the last and more constructive portion of my speech. Among the peoples of the Middle East we should find natural allies. If we support the men who understand that the Middle East needs Europe and its technicians while we need its oil, an economic partnership could be started. We want only a fair partnership and a fair economic deal. Surely we saw in Iraq a country which had devoted half its oil profits to the improvement of its conditions.
The crux of the political tenseness in the Middle East is surely the situation of Israel. We all sympathise with the position of that long-harassed and tortured people, and we should want them to find a home with some security at last. But we must understand that the Arabs feel that the State of Israel could be the springboard for a future attack in the Midde East and that they therefore fear the expansion of Western influence in Israel. At the same time, the Israelis—as at Suez—feel themselves surrounded by an encroaching line of Arab hostility.
Now that the United States is committed in the Middle East we should 1530 surely be able to reach some political agreement whereby the frontiers of Israel are guaranteed and the Arabs relieved from their fear of Israel. Surely at last we should be able to find a common ideology with the people of the Middle East. We are involved in a tremendous world struggle between the great forces of dialectical materialism, sponsored by the Communists—who believe that man must move inevitably through violent revolution to a climax of Communism—and the rest of the world, which does not accept this materialist doctrine—the Hindus, the Buddhists, the Mohammedans and the Christians. They believe in a different scheme of affairs. Certainly Mohammedans do not accept a material philosophy.
If we tried to make friends we should find natural allies amongst the populations of the Middle East, in a political, economic and ideological partnership, provided we supported moderate opinion and resisted the authors of violence who are trying to upset the whole political situation there. If we keep this fact clearly in our minds, surely we can extend the hand of friendship and walk together down a new road of partnership.
§ 8.23 p.m.
Mr. Wedgwood Bean (Bristol, South-East)
There is always one thing which unites the House of Commons, whatever it is that we discuss, and that is the common interest we have in the interests of this country, particularly the interests of the British people—and, in a crisis of this kind, the interests of British troops. However deeply we may be divided as to the way in which these interests can best be safeguarded, I am sure that this debate, as yesterday's, will take a much more satisfactory form if we do credit to this extent, at least, to each other's sincerity.
I rise because I believe that both in the short and in the long run the Government's policy is open to very serious criticism from the point of view of our interests. I fully agree with what my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said about the immediate consequences which will flow from the decision to send troops into Jordan. The situation is not in our control.
This is a point to which the Prime Minister devoted no attention whatsoever in the course of his speech. He spoke 1531 as if, by virtue of sending British troops into Jordan, the future course of development in Jordan and in that part of the world could be decided by the Cabinet in London. That is not the case. What we have done is to move a small British force into a part of the world where it will have no decisive effect upon the development of events.
I want to deal very briefly with some questions which the Cabinet ought to have answered last night, but which they did not answer—or, if they did, the answers were not given to us today. I am not a lawyer, and I do not come here with any claim to legal knowledge. At the same time, the juridical aspects of the problem are much more complicated than the Prime Minister would have us believe. As my right hon. Friend said, the central problem is the question whether we regard Jordan as an independent country or as part of the Arab Union. If we regard it as an independent country, Iraq is also independent and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) said, if, now that the new régime is established, Iraq chooses to seek the support of other States in the defence of its own integrity against King Hussein, an international crisis of major proportions will develop.
What is the position of British troops in those circumstances? It is not as remote a danger as the House may think. It is true that the Soviet Union has no direct access to the borders of Iraq. The only way that the Soviet Union could accede to a request for troops from the Iraqi Government would be to fly them over Turkey or Persia, and we might say that that would be an act of international aggression. But that is exactly what the British Government are doing today. According to the news reports, they are flying troops over Israel, despite the protests of the Israeli Government. It may be that the Israeli Government are protesting in order to protect their own future in the Middle East—and I do not blame them for that—but to the Security Council there is absolutely no difference between a British flight with troops over Israel to Jordan and a Soviet flight with troops over Turkey or Persia to Iraq.
The possibility must be taken a stage further. What happens if King Hussein, acting independently—as he is perfectly entitled to—decides to advance into Iraq 1532 with his own troops, claiming that it is all one country, and if the Iraqi Army then decides not only to repulse that attack but to chase King Hussein back into Jordan? Would we regard the presence of Iraqi troops in Jordan as an act of international aggression? If we accept what King Hussein says, which is that Iraq is part of Jordan, Iraqi troops moving into Jordan are engaged in civil war, not fermented from outside the Arab Union. I do not believe that these problems have been thought out.
Another question which the Prime Minister never mentioned concerns the British community in Bagdad. What happens if there is mob violence, either instigated by the new régime in Iraq—which seems unlikely—or inflamed by reports reaching the mobs in Bagdad of the presence of British troops in Jordan? Are our British troops to advance into Bagdad and try to defend the British community in that city? We all know the consequences of the ill-fated Suez expedition. It was pretended that that was undertaken in order to defend the British community in Egypt—the people who are now denied even common justice by this present Government—and also to maintain the flow of British ships through the Canal, which, as we know, was blocked. I do not believe that the Government have given any thought to this matter. There is no sizeable British community in Jordan; it is the community in Iraq which may need our help.
There are other complications as well, because of the possibility of the Iraqi Government becoming engaged with British troops as a result of any of these things with which I have been dealing. What will happen if the Iraqis come into conflict with British aircraft? The Iraqi Air Force is supposed to be with the rebels. It is a force that we armed and equipped and, by Middle Eastern standards, it is efficient. What happens if it becomes involved with the British Royal Air Force transport planes, either over Jordan or, more seriously, over the air corridor we have taken for ourselves over Israel?
The consequences of this are very grave indeed, because, as has been pointed out in this debate, we are approaching the most dangerous situation possible—that of a world war by proxy, of the kind that we saw in Korea, in Indo-China, and which we have seen elsewhere. If as a 1533 result of this action, British troops—and there are only a small number of them, very weakly and poorly supplied regarding lines of communication—get involved with the Iraqis, and Iraq brings in outside support; or get involved with the Israelis one way or another or are sent in a desperately critical effort to safeguard the British community in Bagdad, the responsibility will fall on right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and particularly on the Minister of Defence whose decision this must very largely have been. Therefore, we on this side of the House—this is the first point I make—in rising to comment critically about this decision, do so, first, because we believe that British interests, British lives, British property and British troops have been ill-served by this decision.
Now we come to the long-term consequences. It is a great mistake to speak about the Middle East only in terms of Arab nationalism. I wish to say a word about Arab nationalism. It is not the only problem in the Middle East today, but it is one of the major elements. There is no doubt whatever that the effect of sending British troops to prop up the régime in Amman will be to exacerbate and increase the feelings of the Arabs against the West in favour of their own unity and independence. I do not want to go into the history of Arab nationalism because I wish to be brief, but we have a grave responsibility in the West for the events which have led to Arab nationalism in its present form. We were the ones who in the First World War pledged them their independence; we were the ones that imposed the mandate system on them, with a treaty structure to suit our interests. We maintained ourselves as long as we could by force, and when we did not maintain ourselves by direct force, we used indirect force; and when we did not use indirect force, we imposed treaties by agreement.
We have seen the consequences of this not only in Iraq, in Syria and in the Lebanon, but also in Egypt and North Africa. When an Arab nationalist looks at his world today, he not only sees the Middle East, he sees the French in Algeria, drawing on Western aid to try to hold down the demands of the Algerian people for independence. It is no good pretending that the British Government, and N.A.T.O., and the United States, have not been supporting the French in 1534 Algeria, because, without that support, without the fact that British troops were in Germany replacing the French, without the facts that American equipment was made available, it would not have been possible for the French to carry on a major war in Algeria. So the first long-term consequence of this will be that the Arab nationalist movement will be strengthened in the Middle East.
The second long-term consequence is the effect it will have on the internal revolution, which is one of the major elements in Middle Eastern development. Internal revolutions will be sharpened and worsened. Most of the Arab countries are developing slowly, according to their resources and history, from a primitive tribal society, through a feudal society, towards a modern society. This development depends on whether they have oil or they do not; what resources they have; and what development is possible in each country. If the feudal rulers of the Middle East feel that they can always count on Western support against their own nationalists they will always delay as long as they can any change in favour of modernisation. This is exactly what Colonel Nasser is saying: "While you have a pro-Western king on your throne, there will be no development and no progress because that king, that sheik, that sultan can, in the last resort, always call in Western troops and claim that there is foreign infiltration." Therefore, the long-term problem of the revolutionary situation within the Middle East has been worsened and not eased as a result of sending British troops to Jordan.
Then there is the worsening of the Arab-Israel tension—which in the case of the crisis in 1956 was the occasion which brought us near to war—and the Arab-Israeli crisis is due to many factors. One is that the Arabs believe that Israel is to be a base for the West. When we find, as we find today, that it is only by being able to fly swiftly over Israel that British troops can land in Jordan, we add to the belief of the Arabs that Israel is being used to serve the West in pursuit of our policy in the Middle East.
The only hope for peace between the Arabs and Israel is that there should be an end to competitive anti-Zionism. This competitive anti-Zionism has been continued by two things. First, the division in the Arab world. One of the 1535 things which makes Israel's position so dangerous today, or made it dangerous last week, is the fact that Bagdad and Cairo, in search of support among the peoples of the Arab countries, always charged the other with being soft to Zionism. When Colonel Nasser broadcast to the people of Iraq and said, "I stand for Arab nationalism, unity and neutralism," Bagdad broadcast back, "Nasser is soft to Israel". That competitive anti-Zionism between Bagdad and Cairo is one of the worst possible consequences of the division of the Arab world and has made the position of Israel very dangerous.
The second competitive anti-Zionist element which we have to consider is the East-West competitive anti-Zionism. We saw it when Sir Anthony Eden made his Guildhall speech and said—in effect—to the Arabs, "If only you will be more friendly to the West we will cut a little bit off Israel for you." Then the Russians time and again have said that if the Arabs turned in their direction they would get a better deal against Israel. The only hope for the survival of Israel is to come to terms with a united and not a divided Arab world—and some solution to the East-West tension.
The final consequences of this action will be greatly to strengthen the Soviet position in the Middle East. If I were Mr. Khrushchev today and I were considering this situation, I should be profoundly grateful to the British Government for having gone into Jordan. Nothing that has been done since Suez could have done more to strengthen the Communist position in general, in the African countries and in the countries of the Middle East itself. It is exactly what the Russians always said about the West, "When it comes to it, the West will intervene by force rather than allow a national, local social revolution take place."
Whatever our answer may be, it will not carry any weight in the Arab world. The Russians have strengthened themselves in the Middle East by allying themselves with Arab nationalism. There is no reason why they should have done so. There is nothing particularly to benefit Russia in genuine Arab nationalism except that the West has been opposing Arab nationalism. It is the case that wherever we have built a 1536 base or kept troops in an attempt to maintain our traditional position, the Russians have outflanked us by offering arms and economic aid without strings. By asserting that they were in support of Arab nationalism, they have been able to strengthen themselves.
Look at the Russian advance in the last few years. It has been extraordinarily successful. Today there are Russian missions in the Yemen, Egypt and Syria. Russian bases are being developed down in the Yemen and Russian pilots are going up and down the Suez Canal. That has not been done by force but because the Russians have been able to leap over the northern tier which we supposed we could establish.
A dilemma faces the House now. The Government put it to us in a way which was perfectly fair. What would we do? If you go in you fail, for the reasons I have given. If we stay out we must not think that it does not mean change. We know that perfectly well, by the revolt in Iraq. We recognise when we say, "Don't go into Jordan" that the régime will not be likely to last.
The question we have to ask ourselves and which Government supporters have to ask themselves is why Iraq, which had a model régime as far as this Government was concerned and was the thing that they created, should disappear overnight after an internal revolution? What was so rotten and weak about it that it could not survive the call of the "Voice of the Arabs"? If that voice had been directed to this country it would not have evoked any local response. That shows that it is not the broadcast that is effective but that what is said in the broadcast finds a response in the hearts of the people who listen to it. It has nothing to do with Nasser or anything of that kind. It is because what they hear from Cairo they think meets the needs of the Arab people.
The only hope is to try to bring about a Middle Eastern settlement. It is often said—it is said now—that the United Nations is no good. Why is the United Nations no good? It is no good because of the veto, we are told. But the veto is not itself a barrier to a settlement. The veto is a signal which tells one the truth, and the truth is that we cannot have a settlement in the Middle East without big-Power agreement. While we ignore the signal and pretend that the veto is 1537 the obstacle, we try to solve it in our own way. But we have totally failed to solve it in our own way. It is because of our traditional policy that Arab nationalism has turned against us. The Soviet Union, in support of Arab nationalism, strengthens its position, and the Arab-Israel problem, which is so critical, becomes worse rather than better.
When my right hon. Friend spoke about a Summit Conference, he touched the centre of the problem. It is only by extracting the cold war struggle from the Middle East that there is any hope of a settlement at all. On limited questions of arms supply and foreign bases it is possible to reach agreement with the Soviet Union, a settlement based, of course, upon common interest. We must come to terms with Arab nationalism. Really, when I listen to all the talk about Arab nationalism by hon. Members opposite, I wonder that they have the effrontery to say the things they do. We speak about Arab nationalism in a superior sort of way. What about British nationalism? What it means, in practical terms, is that this country has declared to the world that, if anyone challenges our independence by force, we shall launch the hydrogen bomb. That is the defence policy of this country, a policy which is accepted, for the purpose of this debate, by the whole House. We then say that our nationalism is somehow civilised, ancient and superb, whereas the crude violence of the Arab nationalists in the Middle East is something to be condemned.
Really, the old idea of the British "nanny" who has grown old in the service of the world, bringing up the Arabs, the Africans, the Indians and the Chinese to maturity is an old-fashioned one. It does not work. It does not wash. It is not true. We are dealing with the people who have the most fearsome idea of all—they want to be free. We are told that we should have more propaganda. The Leader of the Liberal Party said that we should buy up newspapers. We are told that we need more alliances, and that we should broadcast more. None of these things is true. I will give a simple, practical example to show what I mean.
There are two or three thousand Arab students in this country. I know many of them, and I am proud to know them. 1538 They love this country and this House because what we have here represents for them the freedom which they want for their own people. They are all pro-Nasser because they believe that, just as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) was privileged, as he said, talking about his wartime leadership, "to give the roar," so the leadership of Colonel Nasser is the roar of Arab nationalism. If one wants to defeat Arab nationalism, one will not do it by more propaganda. To do it, one would have to close down institutions like this House. One of the most revolutionary things in the world today is this House, because here we have ventured upon the most difficult and dangerous job of all time: the attempt to govern our own people by consent. If we try to do this ourselves, can we blame others for trying to do the same?
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ Viscount Lambton (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
The most relevant question in this debate has not yet been put. Will the Opposition divide the House this evening? We have been talking, so far, in the dark, but one can only presume, from the criticisms which have been made and from the direction which has come so often from behind to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, that there will be a Division tonight. I am ready for a contradiction if there is not to be. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] Very well. What I find quite impossible to understand is how yesterday the House was not divided on the American landing in the Lebanon and how today it is to be divided about a British landing on exactly the same legal and moral premises.
What can this action upon which we are entering and in which we are now taking part amount to?
We have had various interpretations from hon. Members on both sides of the House. What it seems to me we have pledged ourselves to do is to come to the aid of Jordan and the Lebanon against the forces of chaos which are out once again in the Middle East. What the Leader of the Opposition and what the Opposition themselves are doing by dividing the House tonight is saying that we should not come to the aid of a friendly country when they ask for it.
§ Viscount Lambton
I think they are friendly at the present moment. There has never been a question of the Leader of the Opposition not accepting this Arab Union, and yet when this Union is smashed, as it is at the moment, and when one half of it is in mortal danger, on the ground of morality we are told that it is impossible for us to move.
What the Leader of the Opposition is establishing and laying down is a new foreign policy. What he is laying down is the precedent that when people who wish to be our allies apply to us for aid we do not give it for fear of annoying our enemies. How, if we want to carry this out and translate it into practical politics, can Britain in the future have any foreign policy at all? What nation would wish in any way to be associated with us, and would it not inevitably mean the decline of any influence we have throughout the world? We all know the ability of the Leader of the Opposition and the quality of his speech today, so one can only presume that he has taken the decision he has done because he has been forced to do so by those behind him.
Having said that, I should like to deal with what is, I think, a very relevant situation in this matter, the opinion of many hon. Members opposite that any intervention is immoral. First of all, I want to say that I freely acknowledge the sincerity of all hon. Members who hold these opinions, but I cannot see how on this occasion they can be justified. Two years ago exactly this same position was taken up over Suez, and it was said that the British attitude against Nasser was wrong and we had no right whatever to invade Egypt. The trouble is that if we take the view that our foreign policy must always be based on idealism we become a sheep among wolves and very often confound the best intentions of the country.
The problem that actually faced Sir Anthony Eden over Suez was the curbing of the totally irresponsible ambitions of 1540 Nasser which were a threat to our peace and ideals, and when we see the bloodshed that has resulted from that action not being carried out, one cannot but regret that failure. Today it seems to me that the problem that faces us is whether the Middle East is going to dissolve into war—and this I would stress—into which both Turkey and Israel would in all likelihood be drawn.
Can we really conceive that these two countries, both far stronger in a military sense than the weak mass of Arab States, can sit still with the Nasser empire knocking at their door and gradually building up strength? Here I should like to stress a point and ask what exactly is the position of the friends of Israel on the other side of the House.
It seems to me to be a quaint way of showing the friendship about which we hear so much at times to say to Israel, "You are a little country. We shall allow you to be totally surrounded by your sworn enemies and then we shall withdraw and leave you to your fate." What is the use of talking about a guarantee? The policy of hon. Members opposite is really to say, "We shall let you be surrounded, but we promise to come to your funeral." That is an odd policy for hon. Members opposite to have.
To get back to my original point, what we are attempting to do is to curb the chaos in the Middle East before it gets out of hand. If in order to do that we have to resort to certain technical illegalities against certain tenets of the United Nations, is it not better to act as we have done and save bloodshed and the establishment of a dictatorship? And do not the means in this case justify the end? It seems to me to be a case of relative morality. Although the technical view may be more personally satisfying and easier to justify, surely the policy which achieves the greatest good is the one which we must follow.
I wholeheartedly welcome the second step which has been taken to end the anarchy and revolution in Iraq. But I confess that I am very apprehensive about the steps that follow. What are we going to do now? I think there was great relevance in some of the arguments put forward by hon. Members opposite, although I was not in agreement with all of them. Are the Americans going to stay in the Lebanon? Are our forces 1541 going to stay in Jordan and in all probability in Kuwait as passive onlookers of the rebellion in Iraq?
I should like to make my personal point of view plain. Unless we hold Iraq, it will be impossible to maintain our troops in the Lebanon, Jordan and Kuwait. It would have been far better had we never started this operation and never gone in unless we are determined to carry it through to its logical conclusion and end the rebellion in Iraq as soon as possible.
§ Viscount Lambton
I should like to answer a question which was posed earlier. It has been said that we shall not physically intervene and that the Arab Legion and the Arab forces of King Hussein will do so instead. I would look on this with the very gravest doubt indeed. I think that there is sedition throughout both the army of Iraq and the army of Jordan. What we would be doing in a sense would be to use these soldiers as mercenaries, and it would hide from nobody our actual participation in the affair. Nor would it lay the right sort of foundation for a united Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, which surely is the most desirable conclusion.
Now that we have gone so far, we must go the whole way. The purpose of intervention in Iraq is to establish peace, and I think that with that end in view we have taken the steps which we have taken so far. We must, however, have the courage of our convictions and achieve our aim by the quickest way, by the use of the most efficient American and British forces at our disposal.
Here I should like to put another point which has been asked several times and about which I am not certain. In what way were we asked for aid by the King of Jordan? Did he ask as King of Jordan, or as a member of the Arab Union? This fact has not been made quite clear. We must surely associate ourselves with the Arab Union, and nothing would he more stupid, nothing would bring more ruin to the present scheme, than a long delay at the present time.
We all saw the disastrous consequences of a delay at Suez. If, at this present moment, we now try to delay in order 1542 to please the United Nations, the international lawyers, the Iraq Army, and the moralists in this country, we will immensely increase the difficulties of an actual entry into Iraq. I am afraid that, owing to the poor state of our defences, we cannot do this task alone, but at the moment the Foreign Secretary is in Washington, and I very much hope that he will get American backing for a joint intervention as soon as possible. Without that, we shall have a repetition of the failure of Suez—
§ Viscount Lambton
No one deplores more than I do the lack of imagination shown by us in our relationship with the Arab countries since Suez. In this last period of a year and a half, we should have abandoned that rather patronising, elder-brother attitude that we had, but surely this is the last moment to give up our responsibility in the Middle East. For can we really give the whole of the area over to a military dictatorship, should this be the end of our relationship?
What I hope will happen is that we shall there establish a free Government, and that we shall aid that Government with all the help and imagination which, had it been forthcoming from us earlier, might have prevented these very events that are troubling us today. Of one thing I am quite certain, and I cannot repeat it too often. It is that we cannot now go back. We have gone too far. We must go on. If we do not enter Iraq, it will mean a withdrawal from Jordan, a withdrawal from Kuwait, a withdrawal from Beirut, and the whole game will have been won by Nasser.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)
The noble Lord the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Viscount Lambton) has challenged the Labour Party to state the conditions upon which intervention might be regarded as desirable. There is not much time—my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) is ready to address the House—but I want to satisfy the noble Lord's curiosity at once, and, first of all, I should like to meet his request for information as to our intentions at the end of this debate. Even if it appears to be unpopular in the opinion of 1543 the public, we are compelled to act in the performance of what we believe to be our rightful duty. From that there is no escape.
After all, there is an indictment against the Government, not only in relation to intervention but because of their attitude in the past towards the Arab countries—Egypt, Iraq and Jordan; and also because of their failure, over and over again, to meet the requirements of the State of Israel. Let it not be forgotten that we provided Egypt with arms. We had a treaty with Egypt. The same applies to Iraq and to Jordan. In no single instance have we been able to rely either on the friendship or the stability of those régimes. In fact, to put it quite plainly and bluntly, we backed the wrong horse in our foreign policy in relation to the Middle East. That is to some extent the reason for what has transpired in recent days.
The noble Lord wishes to know what our position would be in relation to intervention; what are the conditions? I shall tell him. They are, first of all, the endorsement of the United Nations, and, secondly, a reasonable conviction that intervention would be effective.
Let us take the first point. We heard what the Prime Minister said today about our reason for intervention without waiting for the endorsement of the United Nations. But, after all, we cannot by-pass the United Nations over and over again. If we do, it will so gravely weaken the United Nations that not a single one or the member countries will have any faith or confidence in that organisation. If it fails, if it becomes ineffective, what are we left with?—no law, no order, no international understanding based on the Charter, but a free-for-all which could lead to chaos and anarchy, and eventually to a major international conflict. Whether we like it or not, we have to rely on the United Nations organisation.
It might have been well worth our while, instead of acting prematurely in this matter, to have waited even for several days to ascertain the views of our friends and even of our enemies in the United Nations. It may be argued, as indeed it has been, that to have waited for several days for a decision of the United Nations organisation might have 1544 meant our inability to stop the rot in Jordan. What does that really mean? After all, Jordan is in possession of forces far in excess of those forces that we have sent to that country. If those forces are unable to quell a revolt, in heaven's name what chance have our 2,000 paratroopers got to deal with the situation?
§ Mr. Shinwell
There is no time for me to give way now.
I would remind hon. Members of our commitments in other parts of the world. We have commitments in Cyprus, and it seems that they will be prolonged. We have commitments in Southern Arabia, in the Aden Protectorate. We may be compelled to send reinforcements to the region of Kuwait in order to protect our oil resources. Where are our reinforcements to come from?
The Prime Minister said that this was not a moral or legalistic issue, that it was a practical issue. Let us approach it objectively and in a practical fashion. What right have we to intervene either in Jordan or elsewhere, more particularly without the backing and endorsement of the United Nations organisation of which we form a part, when all that we can say about this adventure is that, at the very best, it is a colossal gamble? It will not solve the problem of the Middle East.
When hon. Members, on both sides, seek to deal with this matter in a constructive fashion, let it be clearly understood that Arab nationalism, either divided or united, will continue to remain intransigent in relation to the State of Israel. I wonder what would be the attitude of Her Majesty's Government if Israel's frontiers were violated. Would we be ready then to intervene and to send forces into Israel? Has there been any indication in the past of support in a military context for the State of Israel? Of course not.
It has been difficult for many of us to come to a decision. I want to make it quite clear—I think this can be said for every hon. Member—that I am not anti-British. I am concerned about the interests of this great country. At the present time, however, I am gravely concerned about the interest of our troops in 1545 Jordan. What are we to do about that? The noble Lord suggested that this may be a prolonged affair. He talked about the possible withdrawal of our forces. Is that likely? There can be no possibility of withdrawal unless stabilisation ensues as a result of intervention. Is that likely in the near future? Of course not.
Then the noble Lord said, let us go on with the fight and have an end to the struggle. With what? Do we have the forces at our disposal to continue the struggle?
§ Mr. Shinwell
Are we to say to the United States that even when we intervene of our own volition, we are quite incapable to carry on the struggle? If we have to rely on the United States of America, it would have been far better not to have intervened but to allow the American forces intervening in the Lebanon to carry on the struggle themselves. After all, the Americans allowed us to carry on the struggle in the past. I am not suggesting that we should pay them out in their own coin. Nevertheless, there is a substantial reason why we should not rely upon the United States in a matter of this sort. Reliance upon the United States in conjunction with the United Nations is a different proposition. [An HON. MEMBER: "Too late."] Somebody says that it is too late. It may be found that it is much too early. I would much rather have seen the Government, instead of acting prematurely, waiting a little longer to ascertain the views of the United Nations. It would have been far better to have the endorsement of the United Nations than to act of our own volition, particularly when we must regard action of this sort as highly ineffective.
Whatever happens in this adventure, we must do nothing to embarrass our forces in Jordan. We may indict the Government—that is our prerogative—if we feel that that is desirable and justifiable, but when our troops are involved that is a quite different matter. The Government involved our troops in this adventure and we can indict the Government because of what we regard as premature intervention, but we must not allow our troops to be placed in 1546 jeopardy. Unless the Government can give some assurance that these troops will be safeguarded while in Jordan or that they regard the situation in the light of a possible early withdrawal, the Government deserve to be indicted to an even greater degree.
Finally, those of us who have held responsible positions in Governments know what the burdens on Ministers can be. How much must be the burden on the Prime Minister. There are acute political differences between us. That is well known, but, political differences apart, we recognise that at a time of acute crisis the burden upon a Prime Minister must be more embarrassing than ever, and none of us, I feel sure, wish to embarrass the Prime Minister unduly. If we indict the Government we do so not on personal grounds or because of any personal grievance against the right hon. Gentleman but because we feel that that duty is imposed upon us. I hope that is clearly understood.
In my judgment, we must stand with the United Nations. We must prop up the United Nations. There is no sensible alternative to that policy, but at the same time we must take whatever steps lie in our power in order to protect our troops in any part of the world.
§ 9.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)
This afternoon the Prime Minister told us of the events of yesterday evening which led to decisions which, in their turn, led to the debate which we are having this evening. As I listened to him and looked at him, I am bound to say that I recalled some of the exchanges that took place in 1956, because it was quite evident to hon. Members in all parts of the House that the Prime Minister is suffering from very considerable burdens and is obviously somewhat jaded. Indeed, it would be quite staggering if he were not.
The right hon. Gentleman said that last night, immediately after he had finished his speech, he learned that a telegram had been received from Amman requesting the intervention of Great Britain in Jordan. Then he called the Cabinet together at eleven o'clock and it sat into the early hours of the morning, when it reached the decision to send the troops in. I hope that hon. Members in all parts of the House will forgive me if I examine 1547 that situation a little more narrowly, because it really astonishes me that the Prime Minister could, indeed, have been taken by surprise by a request of that sort.
One would gather from his failure to say anything at all about it in the course of yesterday's debate that the right hon. Gentleman was quite right in saying that he was taken by surprise, and I must accept it. I should not like to accuse the right hon. Gentleman, even by inference, of deceiving the House. I know that he is incapable of doing that. But if that be the case, then he ought to do something about the Foreign Office. If I have the chance I shall have to do something about the Foreign Office, because there is obviously something seriously wrong.
Let us think of it seriously. Does any hon. Member imagine that a head of State suddenly launches an invitation of this sort to another State without first finding out how it might be received? It is a most astonishing proceeding. Most nations act in that way in the open only after they have made sure that they would not be rebuffed. Yet now we are told that this was done without any previous investigation. In fact there might have been some inquiries made on these lines, "If we ask this or that, in these or those circumstances, what is likely to be your reply?" That is what is usually done, but I understand that late at night a message is sent from Amman saying, "King Hussein is frightened of the situation; he wants immediate help", and the British Government sit for three hours in order to consider whether they should send it.
Now everybody knows that there had been trouble in Bagdad. It was not a secret at that stage. It was also known at that time that Jordan was a member of the Union, so there was nothing to surprise the members of the Cabinet in the fact that the trouble from Bagdad might spread to Amman. It would be rather curious if it did not, because there were people who had carried out a revolution in Bagdad and, therefore, one must assume that they would try to extend the revolution to the rest of the Union. So there was nothing surprising in that; in fact everybody would expect it.
Not only was it the fact that we could expect it to spread to Amman, but the 1548 Prime Minister told us this afternoon that the Bagdad Radio informed them of their intentions. They did not even intend to take Jordan by surprise. The Prime Minister said that Bagdad Radio announced the revolution in Jordan. It said, according to the Prime Minister, that a revolution had started in Iraq and one in the Lebanon and tomorrow another revolution would start in Jordan. I am bound to say that was very good of them. Here is a revolution started from outside surreptitiously, organised clandestinely and then announced over the radio, and having been given notice that it was going to happen, King Hussein is such a popular monarch that he could not deal with it.
This is really a grotesque situation. [HON. MEMBERS: "Cheap."] This is exactly what the Prime Minister said this afternoon. What are we to conclude from that? We are to conclude that the King of Jordan is in such a weak position that, although he is told beforehand that there is going to be an uprising in his country, nevertheless his own forces are inadequate to deal with it. That is the conclusion we reach. [An HON. MEMBER: "Outside intervention."] I will come to the point about outside intervention.
There is nothing here about outside intervention, unless by outside is meant Bagdad. If by outside somewhere else is meant, we would like to know. We want to examine this narrowly because of events in the Lebanon. We were told that the reason why there was an American landing in the Lebanon backed by Great Britain was because President Chamoun had said he could not hold the situation, that the observers of the United Nations were inadequate.
Now we know from the facts from the Security Council that the United States went into the Lebanon not because the United Nations observer corps were inadequate, but because they were becoming adequate. It was not because the United Nations Security Council was failing, but because it was succeeding. The statement is made in the Security Council by the Secretary-General of the United Nations that he was satisfied that the whole frontier was under full control. It was at that stage that we went into the Lebanon.
We should therefore have a little more precise information as to why it was that 1549 in the small hours of the morning the Government decided to send troops into Jordan. The argument that we sent them in because we were requested by a friendly Power which found itself in difficulties is too thin. Have we now reached a situation where, if any monarch or Government get into difficulties with their own people and request aid from Great Britain, Great Britain proposes to send it? Why on earth should the lives of British soldiers be risked in Jordan in order to maintain King Hussein on his throne against the wishes of his own people?
The argument is now that despite forewarning, despite the situation which he knew existed, nevertheless he would not be able to maintain his position against the uprising of his own people. We cannot have it said that we are putting people into the Army, the Navy and the Air Force in order to intervene gratuitously in various parts of the world where we are asked to send our boys to support some tottering Government or some ancient throne.
A friendly monarch? It is a very curious thing that it was only two years ago that he asked us to leave because our absence would strengthen him. Two years ago we were told that our presence in Jordan was an embarrassment and that he would be much stronger if we left. Now he says that he would be much stronger if we went in—and, of course, he would be.
The fact of the matter is that Jordan is a kept country and King Hussein is a kept king, and has been kept for many years. Now that a revolution has occurred in Bagdad, in Iraq, his resources have been cut off. No one would therefore be surprised if he found that there was a reason for us to go back in again, because unless he can find some reason for a comparative rich country to go in, not only will there be an uprising in his country, but his country will be completely ruined. He has been living on money from outside for many years. The fact is that Jordan has become nonviable as a consequence of a successful uprising in Bagdad.
What are we to do now? We have gone into Jordon, and a question has been asked, what do we propose to do there? We are told that there was a plot hatched 1550 from Bagdad. Is it therefore held that this is a plot hatched in a foreign country? Are we now to conceive that the Union is broken and that Jordon is a separate State? If the plot is hatched from Bagdad and it is still a Union, this is a civil war, and if it is a civil war, we have no right to intervene. If, on the other hand, Jordan is a detached State, then the King of Jordan is committing the very offence of which the Prime Minister has accused others, by inciting an uprising in Bagdad. [Interruption.] Certainly. He broadcasts over the radio. But we must recognise the fact that the Government of Iraq, however short has been its existence, is recognised by a large number of nations. It is a de facto Government. Therefore, if King Hussein in a broadcast incites a rising in Iraq, he cannot expect anything else than for Iraq to incite a rising in Jordan.
I have always held the view that it is absolutely essential, especially in the Middle East, that we should try to conduct our affairs in such a way as not to collide with the Soviet Union. I have always believed that the great danger here is that we may take action that would involve the prestige of one of the great Powers coming into collision with the Soviet Union. We have information that the Bulgarian land, sea and air forces are joining in manoeuvres with the Soviet Union on the Turkish frontier.
If a request from King Hussein ranks as a justification for sending troops into Jordan—as the Prime Minister contends—the Iraki Government in Bagdad would be perfectly entitled to invite assistance from the Soviet Union, by exactly the same reasoning. We should then have British troops drawn more and more into collision with Soviet troops, either in the form of volunteers or of direct help. The prestige of both power blocs would become increasingly involved, and each would find it more and more difficult to detach itself from such a situation without grievous loss of face.
Surely hon. Members should recognise that that is a situation we should seek at all costs to avoid. We ought not to be put into the position, in some subsequent debate, of having to consider either withdrawing our forces from that area or adding to them, with the Soviet adding to theirs and the Americans adding to theirs—on and on and on, until before 1551 very long we found ourselves locked in a conflict from which we were unable to disentangle ourselves. That is the seriousness of the situation, as I understand it. That may be one of the results of this gamble, and that is why we earnestly hope that the Government, even now, will try to detach themselves from the situation into which they have got.
I do not believe that it is the duty of British forces to stop revolutions. Since when has it been? Since when have we decided that if revolution is spread throughout the Middle East it is our duty to suppress it? Since when have we taken the view that we are now going to engage our forces in a holy war against revolution in the Middle East? If that be the policy of the Government they should say so. The Prime Minister has been careful. He has said, "We are going into Jordan merely in order to maintain stability in the area." He has not frankly answered the question: If King Hussein launches an attack upon Bagdad, and if he uses such forces as are available to him for the purpose of reversing the decisions of Bagdad, will we withdraw? All that he has said is that the logistics of the situation make it highly improbable that that would happen. That is not a frank answer.
What we want to know is whether the presence of British troops in Amman will help to cover an attack by King Hussein on Iraq. We are not clear about that, because all kinds of equivocal words have been used. The ambassador has used them. It may be the intention of King Hussein to ask us to cover operations conducted by himself. We want a plain answer to this question: If, in fact, the presence of British troops in Amman will be used as a cover for an attack on Bagdad, has the Prime Minister informed King Hussein that in those circumstances British troops will be withdrawn? Because, if that is not the case, then, of course, we shall ourselves be conducting a war against Iraq by proxy. That is a very cowardly thing to do; but a dangerous thing to do.
If, on the other hand, we do not propose to cover an attack by Amman on Bagdad, do we propose to remain in Amman indefinitely? Are we going to keep our forces there, until when? Until Jordan is settled? Are the Americans 1552 going to keep their troops in the Lebanon until the Lebanon is settled? Under what circumstances are we going to withdraw? What the British people want to know is not only what action we have taken and what justification there is for it; they want to know what sort of general policy the Government have in mind. What is the destination at which they are aiming? Where do they want to get?
Is it merely that we are going in there to stay there indefinitely, or is this operation a part of a wider operation envisaged by the Government now? If it is a part of a wider operation, then, of course, we must resist it because of the sinister consequences that would be involved. If it is merely a limited operation, then we cannot see any end to it at all; and for both these reasons we oppose the policy.
Yesterday evening, my right hon. Friend and I told the Government that we were not going to divide the House yesterday evening because we did not want to disturb the unity of the nation in the face of a grave international situation. We warned the Government that we would not support them if they sent troops into Jordan and into Iraq or into the Lebanon—or, indeed, into any part of the Middle East where we had no existing treaty obligations. We said that the Government would have to face the responsibility themselves—if they took such action—of having divided the nation.
We said that in the most solemn tones; we said that after an exhaustive debate, and a debate which had been conducted at a particularly high level. In spite of that warning, given in the most precise terms, the Prime Minister immediately leaves this Chamber and convenes the Cabinet; and that Cabinet decides that the welfare of the King of Jordan is more important than the unity of the British nation.
The Government decided to put our troops in jeopardy in a situation where it is doubtful whether they can be adequately reinforced and supplied, without having made quite sure beforehand that they would be allowed by Israel to pass over Israeli territory. That situation is still equivocal. We still hear that Israel's permission has been withdrawn, and one of the answers I should like from the Prime Minister is: is he perfectly satisfied that we can lawfully supply our 1553 troops in Amman? The Government decided to do that in spite of the debate that we had yesterday.
In all those circumstances, we must tell the Prime Minister, the House and the country that we consider that our troops have been placed in unnecessary jeopardy, that the interests of the people of Great Britain will not be served either in the short or the long run by what the Government have done, and that the Government may have taken a long step towards plunging this country into war. In circumstances of that sort and for reasons of that sort, it is impossible for the Opposition to do any other than its duty to the country and ask the House to divide against the Government.
§ Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)
On a point of order. Is it in order for an hon. Member to induce another hon. Member to speak when he is obviously not prepared to do so.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
It is a fact as you well know, Mr. Speaker, that I had asked that I might be allowed to speak in this debate. I was only sorry that the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) rose a few minutes before he said he was going to.
In 1956, we debated in this House recent events in the Middle East, which had included the dismissal of General Glubb by King Hussein. I was almost the only hon. Member in the House on either side on that occasion to say a few words of sympathy towards King Hussein. The general tendency in the House and the country was to condemn him, because many people, perhaps understandably, regarded his action as something of a slight to this country, to an old friend, General Glubb, and to Her Majesty's Government.
On that occasion, I made a few observations from which I should like tonight to repeat a short quotation, because it is relevant to the debate that we have today. [Interruption.] I would never claim to have any more right to the attention of the House than any other 1554 hon. Member, but I think I might with humility be allowed to say that I am one of those who has spent a number of years in the Middle East and on occasions I have found myself obliged to take a line not absolutely in tune with all my hon. Friends. Perhaps I might therefore claim a little indulgence, and I should be most grateful to hon. Members. We ought also to realise that it is not very often that a back bencher has the opportunity of following the winding-up speech of a speaker on the Opposition Front Bench.
All I wish to do is to recall a few words which I said at the time when King Hussein had broken off an old treaty with us and returned General Glubb to us. I said then, and I would say it again tonight, because I believe it to be absolutely applicable to the present situation:I believe that the one thing we must avoid doing if we possibly can is to make it more difficult for this present King of Jordan to keep control of the affairs of his country. It is perfectly true that he has slighted this country, that he has slighted General Glubb and has slighted Her Majesty's Government … but I still ask this question. If we take action which makes it impossible for that man to remain as ruler of Jordan, are we quite certain that the alternative will be any better?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th March, 1956; Vol. 549, c. 2160.]I believe that those remarks are applicable today.
Hon. Members who have spoken in this debate have all exercised the most commendable restraint, on both sides of the House, and I will, if I may, from the bottom of my heart, congratulate the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition on the most carefully measured words which he spoke both yesterday and today. Many of the misgivings that he has are felt not only on his side of the House. This is, as the right hon. Gentleman quite rightly said, an extremely grave moment. It is an extremely complicated and anxious time that we are living in, and the problems we have to deal with are not problems, I believe, which will ever find the ideal solution. It is inevitably, as it so often is in politics, a matter of choosing the lesser of evils.
None of us likes the idea, and it is never a pleasant thing to do—the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) expressed very much my own 1555 feelings about this—sending British troops out into a position where, one knows, their lines of communication may be easily cut or where it might be extremely difficult for them to be properly provided for. All of us on this side, just as much as hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, know how difficult the situation is in the committing of the Parachute Brigade. We all know.
Here I will take up the cudgels a little with the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman). He suggested that the Prime Minister had used only the juridical arguments about this matter. I should have thought that the one thing which became absolutely clear in what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said is that not only have we to be morally right, not only have we to be legally right in what we do, but we have to try to decide whether what we are trying to do is wise. Each one of us has had that problem to turn over in our minds. Anyone who has gone seriously into it must surely appreciate that it is virtually impossible to find the ideal solution in these circumstances. Are we really to suppose that the Cabinet sat for the three hours it did last night without discovering that these are difficult things to decide?
I am absolutely convinced that there are times when one has to do something which may even seem to be unwise rather than be so ashamed of oneself in one's heart that one cannot even face oneself in a looking glass. [Interruption.] We all shave in the morning, do we not? I do not wish to delay the House but, before I sit down, there is this I wish to say. [HON. MEMBERS: "Go on."] There are many friends of the State of Israel in this House, but there are many friends of the Arab countries, too. What we should like to feel is that a message went out from the House that what is being done in the name of this country, in the name of the United States and in the name of the free world, is done in order to ensure that both Arab and Israeli can live at peace in the future. I do not believe that they could live at peace for very long unless those who are prepared to keep in with the West are given some encouragement. Now, as we are committed, I believe that there is but one thing to ensure, that we go through with it and make certain that it is a success.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister
Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the leave of the House to speak again, and if I have that permission, to try very shortly to answer some of the questions which have been asked.
The debate today, like yesterday's debate, has been one, I think, in which the general tone and temper has been in conformity with the importance of the isues which we face both today and for the future. I tried in opening the debate today, as I did yesterday, to keep as far as possible within the limits of factual statement and sober argument. I shall try to end on the same note tonight. But then, of course, I have this great advantage that I both opened the debate from this side of the House and closed it. Therefore, I can, however jaded, at least see that the two speeches from this side of the House are in the same general mood.
There are some important questions which I have been asked and which I will try to answer. First, about the over flying of Israeli territory. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition asked, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) repeated the question, whether the permission of the Israeli Government had been obtained for our aircraft to fly over Israel. This is the position. In view of the urgency—and I felt it very deeply—a small advance party was dispatched from Cyprus as soon as it was possible after our decision was taken, and it landed in Jordan after obtaining clearance to fly over Israeli territory from the local air control authority. For the main body of the force, permission to fly over Israeli territory was subsequently obtained at Governmental level. It is true that in the communication from the Israeli Government it thought it right—and I do not blame it at all—to register a complaint about the clearance of the small party without complete Governmental authority, but there is, in this same letter to me, conveyed its permission without any qualification.
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition also raised the question what would happen in the future, and, of course, this was raised by other hon. Members. I cannot tell—I must be frank with the House—what will happen over 1557 this vast area, but I think that there are some statements, not unnaturally made in all this excitement from both sides of the House and many quarters not only in this country but all over, which we must understand the reason for, but which are sometimes, I think, made without much regard for practical possibilities.
As I said, I will answer the questions which the right hon. Gentleman asked me. He complains that I do not always give a plain answer to a plain question. The trouble is that he so seldom asks a plain question. As I have said over and over again, our purpose in the dispatch of this small force, indeed by its very character, is to prevent foreign aggression, and, so far as we can, to protect the integrity of Jordan.
In making their request, the Jordanian King and Government assured us that they had no intention that the British troops should be used in order to release Jordan forces to attack Iraq. I repeat what I said earlier today that this obligation remains upon them and it is on that basis that we decided to send our help.
Some observations were made about the Moslem attitude, and we must be very careful. I think that we must also take into account, which perhaps I did not sufficiently emphasise this afternoon, the reactions of other Allies—Turkey, Pakistan and Iran. The action which the United States Government took in the Lebanon has been welcomed by these three Moslem States, and they expressed their hope and strong desire that we might be able to take the same action in Jordan. Therefore, whatever may be the truth about the movement of Russian troops on the Iran border, to which the Leader of the Opposition referred, it does not at any rate seem to have affected the staunch attitude of these three countries towards a question which they think affects their life and liberty as well as the small States.
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition used some words at the end of his speech which thought were very important and to which I shall try to respond on the same note. He referred to possible Soviet reactions and the effect upon the future of the immense problem of the divided world. He did not content himself with warnings, but 1558 made some suggestions in a very helpful spirit. He did not ask me to answer now—he especially said that—but it is only right that I should try to make a provisional reply.
I do not think that anything that has happened has reduced the possibilities of what we were discussing before these events happened and for which we have worked so hard, that is, to try to get some kind of agreement with the Soviet authorities. It has certainly not reduced my wish to have a summit meeting on the lines that I have so often explained to the House—reasonably prepared and likely to be effective in at least some measure. I must candidly add that I do not think—I may be wrong—that anything that has happened has made it less likely that we shall be able to achieve this purpose.
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said that he did not propose to discuss the question on the basis of international law and that he believed that a good case could probably be made out to justify our action on legal grounds. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) went even further in a very interesting speech. He said that he was not much interested in the refinements of international law, although he conceded that this action was legitimate. I thought that perhaps he rather underrated the importance of this matter, but I am glad to have these views, and I think that it is satisfactory to both sides of the House and to the country to feel that, whatever the question of the wisdom which we are discussing, there is a broad understanding that we have acted within the letter and spirit of international law.
There have been some observations about Jordan to which I should like to refer. Of course, we cannot complain about them, but, like my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Isle of Ely (Major Legge-Bourke), I think that they were sometimes perhaps a little ungenerous. It is, of course, true that under great pressures—not all of them internal even—the young King of Jordan treated us with what we are perfectly entitled to regard as ingratitude. But I do not think that a great nation like ours should hold this against the value of a long friendship and the work that we have done for that country, or not have regard to the present relations which are restored between us.
1559 It is quite true that Jordan is not a democratic State in the modern sense of the word. But Jordan has at least a form of Parliament. The Senate and the House are both elected. They were elected two years ago. If the Jordanian system has not reached the position of the British system, it is not altogether dissimilar from the system from which our own has developed over the centuries. It is in an earlier form from which it can hope to develop into something like what we have here. After all, our own took quite a long time before all the rights, or, dare I say it, the Privileges of Parliament were set up.
All the speeches that have been made, and especially that of the Leader of the Opposition, have laid stress on the dangers of the action taken by Her Majesty's Government. I am well aware of them: dangers to our own position; dangers to the future developments in the Middle East, and, perhaps, all over the world. Of course, there are dangers in this action. If there were not dangers, it would not have been so difficult to make this decision, but I would deny that this is, in itself, a reason why we should not have taken this decision, for, in all these matters, we have to weigh one set of dangers against another.
I am bound to say that I thought that the right hon. Gentleman, and some other speakers, addressed themselves only to the dangers that would result from our action, and not sufficiently to the dangers that would result from doing nothing. We have had a short debate, and the urgency of the moment has not made it easy to deploy all the arguments fully but, in a sense, some of the arguments deployed yesterday are very relevant to those deployed today. Therefore, I do
§ not think that the House would now expect me, beyond answering the factual questions, to go further into them.
§ We have had a three-hour debate, and I feel that the House has been very generous to allow me the right to reply, even shortly, but I should like to say that there would be dangers, and these impressed me the most, in letting things slide, among them—for we cannot altogether disregard it—the danger of dishonour in not acceding to this request.
§ The right hon. Gentleman said, I think, that we both sincerely have the same purpose. That was repeated in the very generous terms used by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), which I very much appreciated, about myself. He and I have now been a very long time in the House together—[Interruption.] The Leader of the Opposition does not wish to divide the nation, and I feel that the debates have been so conducted, whatever the result, as to achieve that purpose, in the main; but, if we do not wish to divide the nation, why is it necessary to divide the House tonight?
§ I would only say this. Yesterday, the Opposition did not divide the House when the United States took action in parallel, though not identical, circumstances in the Lebanon, with the full support of Britain. Today, when it is our own country that has acted with the full support of the United States, it is thought necessary to divide the House. May I ask this question: If it is not right to vote against America, why is it right to vote against Britain?
§ Question put, That this House do now adjourn:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 251, Noes 314.1565
|Division No. 201.]||AYES||[9.59 p.m.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Bonham Carter, Mark||Corbet, Mrs. Freda|
|Albu, A. H.||Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Cove, W. G.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Brockway, A. F.||Crossman, R. H. S.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Cullen, Mrs. A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Burke, W. A.||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Darling, George (Hillsborough)|
|Baird, J.||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Davies,Rt.Hon.Clement(Montgomery)|
|Balfour, A.||Callaghan, L. J.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Carmichael, J.||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S. E.)||Champion, A. J.||Deer, G.|
|Benson, Sir George||Chapman, W. D.||de Freitas, Geoffrey|
|Beswick, Frank||Chetwynd, G. R.||Delargy, H. J.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Clunie, J.||Diamond, John|
|Blackburn, F.||Coldrick, W.||Dodds, N. N.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Donnelly, D. L.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)|
|Dye, S.||Lindgren, G. S.||Ross, William|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lipton, Marcus||Royle, C.|
|Edelman, M.||Logan, D. G.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Short, E. W.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||McCann, J.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||MacColl, J. E.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||MacDermot, Niall||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Fernyhough, E.||McLeavy, Frank||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Fletcher, Eric||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Foot, D. M.||Mahon, Simon||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Snow, J. W.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Gibson, C. W.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mason, Roy||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Mayhew, C. P.||Steele, T.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mellish, R. J.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Grey, C. F.||Messer, Sir F.||Stonehouse, John|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mitchison, G. R.||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Monslow, W.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Grimond, J.||Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm, S.)||Stross, Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Gienvil (Colne Valley)||Mort, D. L.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Moss, R. L.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Hannan, W.||Moyle, A.||Sylvester, G. D.|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||Mulley, F. W.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Hastings, S.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Healey, Denis||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||O'Brien, Sir Thomas||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Oliver, G. H.||Thornton, E.|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Oram, A. E.||Tomney, F.|
|Holman, P.||Orbach, M.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Holmes, Horace||Oswald, T.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Holt, A. F.||Owen, W. J.||Viant, S. P.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Padley, W. E.||Wade, D. W.|
|Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Paget, R. T.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Hoy, J. H.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Weitzman, D.|
|Hubbard, T. F.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Pargiter, G. A.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Parker, J.||West, D. G.|
|Hunter, A. E.||Parkin, B. T.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Paton, John||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Peart, T. F.||Wigg, George|
|Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Pentland, N.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Popplewell, E.||Willey, Frederick|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Prentice, R. E.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St. Pncs, S.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Probert, A. R.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Proctor, W. T.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Rankin, John||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Redhead, E. C.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Reeves, J.||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Kenyon, C.||Reid, William||Woof, R. E.|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Reynolds, G. W.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Lawson, G. M.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Ledger, R. J.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Balniel, Lord||Biggs-Davison, J. A.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Banks, Col. C.||Bingham, R. M.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Barber, Anthony||Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Barlow, Sir John||Bishop, F. P.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Barter, John||Black, C. W.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Batsford, Brian||Body, R. F.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Baxter, Sir Beverley||Boothby, Sir Robert|
|Arbuthnot, John||Beamish, Col. Tufton||Bossom, Sir Alfred|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.|
|Ashton, H.||Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Boyle, Sir Edward|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Braine, B. R.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Bidgood, J. C.||Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Marshall, Douglas|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Mathew, R.|
|Bryan, P.||Hesketh, R. F.||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Mawby, R. L.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden)||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Medlicott, Sir Frank|
|Campbell, Sir David||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.|
|Carr, Robert||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hirst, Geoffrey||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Channon, Sir Henry||Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Hope, Lord John||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hornby, R. P.||Nairn, D. L. S.|
|Cole, Norman||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Neave, Airey|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Cooke, Robert||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Cooper, A. E.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Howard, John (Test)||Noble, Michael (Argyll)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Hughes, Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Osborne, C.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Hurd, A. R.||Page, R. G.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Cunningham, Knox||Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)||Partridge, E.|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Hyde, Montgomery||Peel, W. J.|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Iremonger, T. L.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Deedes, W. F.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Pott, H. P.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Drayson, G. B.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Joseph, Sir Keith||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)|
|Duncan, Sir James||Kaberry, D.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Keegan, D.||Profumo, J. D.|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Elliott, R. W. (Ne'castle upon Tyne, N.)||Kershaw, J. A.||Redmayne, M.|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Kimball, M.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Kirk, P. M.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Lagden, G. W.||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Lambton, Viscount||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Fell, A.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Robertson, Sir David|
|Fisher, Nigel||Leather, E. H. C.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Leavey, J. A.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Forrest, G.||Leburn, W. G.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Fort, R.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Foster, John||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Russell, R. S.|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Gammans, Lady||Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Sharples, R. C.|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Shepherd, William|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (Sutton Coldfield)||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Glover, D.||Longden, Gilbert||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Speir, R. M.|
|Godber, J. B.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Goodhart, Philip||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Gower, H. R.||McAdden, S. J.||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Storey, S.|
|Green, A.||McKibbin, Alan||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Gurden, Harold||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Teeling, W.|
|Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Temple, John M.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Maddan, Martin||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Hay, John||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.||Turner, H. R. L.|
|Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.||Wall, Patrick||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Tweedsmuir, Lady||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Vane, W. M. F.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Vickers, Miss Joan||Webbe, Sir H.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)||Webster, David||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Heath and Mr. Oakshott.|