HC Deb 28 July 1958 vol 592 cc927-9
16. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will propose to the Security Council of the United Nations that free elections be held in Lebanon and Jordan under United Nations supervision.

Commander Noble

No, Sir.

Mr. Brockway

As it is now quite clear that the great majority of the people of Lebanon do not support President Chamoun and the great majority of people of Jordan do not support King Hussein—[HON. MEMBERS: "How does the hon. Member know?"]—in accordance with our own democratic principles, would it not be desirable that there should be a free election so that our hon. friends can be enlightened on this subject?

Commander Noble

It would be a great advantage if free elections could be held in all the countries of the world. As, however, the hon. Member knows, elections were held in the Lebanon in accordance with the Lebanese constitution and electoral law as recently as June last year, and the last Jordanian elections were held in October, 1956.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Is it not a fact that after the elections were held in Jordan and after The Times correspondent had reported that they were very fair and quiet, King Hussein dissolved Parliament and abolished the political parties by Royal decree and has since ruled by force alone? Is it not desirable that Her Majesty's Government should take steps to find out how far the Jordan régime is, in the Prime Minister's words, "popular, genuine and constitutional"?

Commander Noble

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, Her Majesty's Government are exploring with the Secretary-General of the United Nations the possibility of devising some sort of effective action by the United Nations in Jordan. We are having discussions with Mr. Hammarskjoeld on that subject now.

Mr. Noel-Baker

May we take it that it is not the purpose of the presence of British troops in Jordan to keep in power a régime that does not enjoy the support of its people?

Commander Noble

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made it perfectly clear why our troops are in Jordan.

26. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, following the arrival of British and United States forces, he will make a further statement on the present situation in the Lebanon and Jordan.

28. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the latest information he has received about the situation in Jordan.

Commander Noble

There has been no radical change in the internal situation in the Lebanon. Efforts are being made to find a political solution. In Jordan the situation remains quiet. Relations between our troops and the civilian population in Amman are good.

Mr. Hughes

Has the Minister read the despatch from the Middle East correspondent of The Times and headed: Suppressed discontent in Jordan. Lack of support for present régime which says: almost everyone who knows Jordan agrees—there is widespread dislike of the British presence as an expression of policy. Did the Government know that before sending our troops there?

Commander Noble

That is not my understanding of the position in Jordan today.

27. Mr. Younger

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what new request Her Majesty's Government have received from King Hussein for help in respect of his relations with Iraq.

Commander Noble

I do not think the House would expect me to say what confidential exchanges have taken place. But as far as Her Majesty's Government are concerned, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made our position quite clear in his statement on 17th July, and the Jordanian Government are fully aware of it.

Mr. Younger

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that I was referring not to confidential exchanges but rather to a television broadcast interview by the King of Jordan in which, after referring to his intentions to restore peace and order in Iraq, he went on to refer to the aid and help "of our friends in the free world" which he hoped would help him to that end? Is not that inconsistent with Her Majesty's Government's intentions as described by the right hon. Gentleman?

Commander Noble

As I have said, the Prime Minister made our position perfectly clear, and that is understood by the Jordanian Government.

29. Mr. Younger

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proposal Her Majesty's Government are making to the Security Council for the introduction of United Nations personnel into Jordan so that United Kingdom forces may withdraw.

Commander Noble

As my right hon. and learned Friend said in the House on 22nd July, Her Majesty's Government have undertaken to initiate action in the United Nations in consultation with the Secretary-General, the Government of Jordan and other Governments. Our representative is in touch with the Secretary-General.

Forward to