§ 16 and 17. Mr. Langford-Holt
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) wheher, in conjunction with the other parties to the Tripartite Declaration of 1950, he will make representations to the Government of the United Arab Republic, with a view to terminating the state of war between the United Arab Republic and Israel;
(2) to what extent belligerent rights are accorded by Her Majesty's Government to the United Arab Republic and Israel, in view of the fact that a state of war exists between these two States.
§ 23. Mr. Healey
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what discussions he has had with the other signatories to the Tripartite Declaration regarding the effect of the formation of the United Arab Republic upon their obligations under the declaration.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
At discussions held since the formation of the United Arab Republic, the signatories agreed that the Tripartite Declaration remained a valid declaration of policy. The termination of the state of war between Israel and the Arab States was called for by the 1265 Armistice Agreement of 1949. For Her Majesty's Government to call on the United Arab Republic to terminate that state of war would be to admit that it still exists, which we do not.
The question of according belligerent tights by Her Majesty's Government to the United Arab Republic or Israel has not arisen. If the point did arise, the Government concerned would have to establish, as a matter of law, that it was entitled to exercise such rights.
§ Mr. Langford-Holt
Would my right hon. and learned Friend not agree that the position whereby this situation in the Middle East has been allowed over many years to drift is extremely dangerous, especially when it is accompanied by such belicose statements as we have seen in the paper by President Nasser today, and that the danger in the future will get worse and worse until some definite action is either taken by the United Nations or not?
§ Mr. Healey
Does this mean that the Foreign Secretary has abandoned his interpretation of the Tripartite Agreement of 6th March, 1957, namely, that the Government did not consider it applicable in the case of an attack on Israel by Egypt? Would he answer Question No. 23 in my name on the Paper? Does he consider and do his partners in the Declaration consider the Declaration as being applicable in the case of war between Israel and that part of the United Arab Republic which used to be Syria?
§ Mr. Lloyd
That is a wide question. Perhaps the Answer which I gave was an over-simplification, but as the United Arab Republic is a State in the area it must be taken into account—for example, in regard to the arms race and the operation of that part of the Tripartite Declaration which deals with the supply of arms in the area. But if the question is, do we regard ourselves as under an obligation to go to the help of a State which does not want our help, I would say, "No."
§ Mr. Shinwell
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman declines to admit that the U.A.R. and the State of Israel are is a state of war, why did his right hon. Friend the Minister of State for 1266 Foreign Affairs, in reply to a Question relating to the interference with shipping through the Canal, reply by saying that it was related to a state of war and was a legal issue? What is the legal issue involved if the Government decline to admit that there is a state of war?
§ Mr. Lloyd
What I have said is the actual truth. We do not agree that there is a state of war now, but the Government of the United Arab Republic maintain that there is. As far as I understand the position of the Israeli Government, they say that there is not. That is what my right hon. Friend the Minister of State was referring to when he said that it was a legal issue.
§ Mr. Langford-Holt
Could my right hon. and learned Friend say whether the United Nations Resolution which stated that neither nation should exercise a right to search and seizure is still valid?
§ Mr. Healey
Is the Foreign Secretary aware that the Tripartite Declaration made by the three Governments, without agreement or consultation with any of the Governments in the countries of the area concerned, included a commitment that the three Governments, should they find any of the States preparing to violate frontiers or armistice lines, would immediately take action within or outside the United Nations to prevent such violation? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether Her Majesty's Government recognise an obligation to take such action in the case of a violation of the armistice line between Israel and the United Arab Republic?
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
Is not that interpretation now given by the Foreign Secretary in plain violation of the text of the agreement which my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) has just read out, and also in violation of the view held by the United States?
§ Mr. J. Hynd
In view of the deliberate defiance by Her Majesty's Government of the Tripartite Agreement in 1956 and the denunciation of the main clause which the Foreign Secretary has now enunciated in the House, would it not be wise to scrap this altogether, so that all know where they stand?