HC Deb 28 July 1958 vol 592 cc925-7
15. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will publish a White Paper showing the present obligations of the United Kingdom in the Middle East, and, in particular, the positions under the Bagdad Pact, the Tripartite Declaration, and the treaties with Kuwait, Bahrein, and the Sheikhdoms of the Aden Protectorate and the Trucial Coast.

Commander Noble

No, Sir. The text of the Bagdad Pact and of the Special Agreement between the United Kingdom and Iraqi Governments was published as a White Paper (Cmd. 9429) in March, 1955. The text of the Tripartite Declaration was published in Command 7977 of 1950 and Her Majesty's Government's interpretation of their obligations under it has been repeatedly made clear. Our obligations to protect the Persian Gulf States were described in my right hon. and learned Friend's reply to the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) on 29th July last year. I do not therefore think there is any need to publish a new White Paper.

Mr. Grimond

Are our obligations to the new Iraqi Government exactly the same as to the old one? Secondly, as there was considerable doubt concerning our position when there was last trouble with one of the Trucial Sheikhdoms, are the Government now certain that the Treaties with these Sheikhdoms are clear, unequivocal and can be laid before the House if necessary?

Commander Noble

Having asked a Question about a White Paper, I do not think the hon. Member would expect me to answer detailed questions about the various Treaties on which he asks information.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Would it not be greatly to the advantage of the House if we could have a White Paper setting out all these obligations and, in particular, making clear what are our duties to these Sheikhdoms and what is the meaning of the Tripartite Declaration, concerning which everybody is at present in doubt?

Commander Noble

If it is the general wish of the House that some sort of White Paper on this matter would be useful to right hon. and hon. Members, I will certainly give the matter further consideration.