§ Mr. W. Yates
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely,the immediate threat to international peace and security in the Middle East and to British interests, people and property in Aden and Jordan".My first duty, Mr. Speaker, is to satisfy you and the House that the matter is, first, definite. I would have thought that the remarks made by the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies this afternoon would have convinced the whole House that as far as Aden is concerned the matter is certainly definite, and that, as far as the report of the proceedings in the General Assembly of the United Nations is concerned, it is quite clear that that authority thought the situation was one which would threaten international peace 1462 and security. Therefore, there is a definite threat to peace and security in that area, and it is for that reason that the authorities in Aden have moved and have enforced emergency regulations.
As regards Jordan, I must, again, satisfy the House that the matter is definite. This can be done by referring to column 924 of Hansard of 19th June, 1961, where the then Joint Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs realized that the extraction of Jordan water by the Israeli Government without international agreement had inherent dangers. He said:Yes, I realise that there are dangers inherent in this question…",—[Official Report, 19th June, 1961; Vol. 642, c. 924.]It would not be quite definite unless there had been a categoric statement of a threat from an Israeli Minister or a member of the Israeli Government, and, just in case there is any doubt that the threat is nut definite and real, it can be found in the statement issued in Tel Aviv:The Israeli Minister of Labour said last night that Israel would go ahead with her plans to pump water from the Jordan even in the face of Arab bullets.That would appear to me to show that there is a danger of conflict and hostilities in the Holy Land at the present time. The threat is definite, and it involves Her Majesty's Government because of our signature to the Tripartite Declaration of 1950, which insists on the armistice being observed.
Secondly: is the problem urgent? It is obviously urgent. The House will rise tomorrow for the Christmas Recess, and if Israel carries out her threat there will be hostilities in the Holy Land shortly after Christmas—during the first week in January. I realise that by Standing Order No. 117 the House can be recalled, but I have never known the House to be recalled in such circumstances.
Thirdly: are these matters of public importance? Taking into account the fact that Ministers, and Commanders-in-Chief of the Arab armies are now meeting in Cairo, and are endeavouring to decide what action they will take towards Israel's threat of unilateral breach of the armistice agreement—[Interruption.] Hon. Members are wrong; there is only an armistice, 1463 guranteed by the United Nations, and by Great Britain, the United States and France.
In view of all these matters, Mr. Speaker, I ask you and the House—and I apologise to the Opposition, whose day I know this is—to consider that this is a definite matter of urgent public importance for us to deal with now. I do not like to think of going home for the Christmas Recess when there is this risk of conflict.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely,the immediate threat to international peace and security in the Middle East and to British interests, people and property in Aden and Jordan.I could not, on existing Rulings, leave that matter to the House. It is really couched in such general terms that it covers a whole range of countries and matters, and that would exclude it from the Standing Order.