HC Deb 24 July 1958 vol 592 cc669-70
39. Mr. Rankin

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what representations he has received from the Government of Canada regarding the intervention by British troops in the Middle East.

Mr. Alport

In accordance with normal procedure, we have been in close and constant touch with other Commonwealth Governments about the Middle East situation. As I said in my Answer on 2nd July to a Question by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), hon. Members will not expect me to give details of the nature of these Commonwealth consultations, which are, by long established practice, confidential.

Mr. Rankin

I appreciate that, but is the Under-Secretary aware that, according to Press reports, when our Foreign Secretary was in America he met Mr. Foster Dulles and also Mr. Sidney Smith, the Minister for External Affairs in Canada, and that Mr. Smith warned the right hon. and learned Gentleman not to go too far in the Middle East? Did that have some moderating effect on Government policy?

Mr. Alport

All that I can say is that Mr. Diefenbaker, in a statement in the Canadian Parliament on 17th July, said: I am sure that Members of the House agree that, in the circumstances, the United Kingdom Government had no alternative but to act as it has done.

Mr. Bottomley

In the latter part of his Answer, the hon. Gentleman referred to consultations. Are we to understand that there were, in fact, consultations with the Commonwealth Governments before the Government embarked upon their Middle East campaign?

Mr. Alport

As the right hon. Gentleman well knows, I cannot go further than I have gone in my original reply.

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