HC Deb 24 June 1959 vol 607 c1183
35. Mr. Healey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will invite the Sultan of Muscat to visit Great Britain to discuss a revision of existing treaty relations between Great Britain and Muscat.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

No, Sir. The relationship between Her Majesty's Government and the Sultan was discussed at length during the visit of the Sultan to this country in the summer of last year. The results of these discussions were satisfactory and there seems no need for a new review.

Mr. Healey

Is not the Minister aware that whatever satisfaction he gained from his discussions with the Sultan last year, there is great uncertainty about the precise nature and extent of Britain's obligations towards the Sultan and his towards us? There is also uncertainty about the precise boundary of the Sultan's realm? Is it not undesirable that British lives should be put at risk and British prestige curtailed throughout the Middle East in pursuit of obligations of which this House and the public have no knowledge whatever?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

My right hon. and learned Friend has made our obligations to the Sultan perfectly clear in this House on a number of occasions. Certainly many of those obligations rest not upon a treaty but on the fact that we have been long-standing friends with the Sultan of Muscat and Oman.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Is not the relationship with the Sultan very unsatisfactory when we constantly send our Armed Forces to help him in his troubles and then he will not listen to our advice about arbitrating in disputes?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

One does not necessarily follow from the other.