HC Deb 09 March 1959 vol 601 cc858-9
6. Mr. Warbey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is still the policy of Her Majesty's Government, in conformity with the Bagdad Pact Council Communiqué of November, 1955, to use British military forces to support the existing Governments of the Bagdad Pact countries against subversive action.

12. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is still the policy of the Government, as laid down in the November 1955 Bagdad Pact Council Communiqué, to use British forces to help defend the territories of Bagdad Pact countries against subversion.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said on 11th April, 1957, in reply to the hon. Member for Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus), there is no provision in the Communiqué to which the Questions refer for armed intervention to deal with subversion.

Mr. Warbey

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply. In view of the fact that the Governments of some of these countries, notably Persia, have no very firm popular foundation, will the right hon. Gentleman give a definite assurance that the British Government will not intervene with armed forces in order to help these rulers to suppress an internal revolt?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

That is a different question. It is a very great pity that hon. Members continue to try and misrepresent what is contained in the Communiqué of 1955.

Mr. Zilliacus

Is it not the fact that the Bagdad Pact Communiqué pledges the Bagdad Pact countries to defend each other's territories against aggression or subversion? Is it not further a fact that the 1956 Defence White Paper speaks of the use of British forces in the Middle East to combat subversion, whether overtly Communist or masquerading as nationalism? Is it not further a fact that, in the case of Jordan, on 17th July last, the Prime Minister claimed an unlimited right of armed intervention at the request of the Government?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The hon. Member's supplementary question is almost totally irrelevant to the Question.