HC Deb 22 March 1960 vol 620 cc234-5
44. Mr. Foot

asked the Prime Minister the purpose of his invitation to Mr. Ben Gurion to visit this country; and what subjects Mr. Ben Gurion has discussed with members of Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister

Mr. Ben Gurion has been spending a few days in this country on a private visit. He called on me at his request on 17th March, when we discussed the problems of the Middle East and the world.

Mr. Foot

Arising out of that reply, can the Prime Minister inform the House whether one of the matters discussed was the supply of arms? Will he give the House an assurance that Her Majesty's Government will not contribute in any way to an arms race in the Middle East?

The Prime Minister

With regard to the first part of that supplementary question, I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on 16th March. With regard to the second part, I observed that in an interview which Mr. Ben Gurion gave, he said: I am in favour of complete disarmament in the Middle East with mutual inspection before world disarmament begins—if it does begin He went on to say that an embargo in the present position, when a great Power was sending armaments to one country, would be a great injustice. All these things have to be considered and I do not think it would be wise of me to deal with them by question and answer.

Mr. Healey

As the Prime Minister has given an account of the views of the Prime Minister of Israel, can he tell us whether he, too, is in favour of trying to organise the control of arms supplies to Middle East countries?

The Prime Minister

I am, of course, in favour of everything we can do to reduce the tension there as part of, and, perhaps, connected with, general world disarmament.

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