HC Deb 15 June 1964 vol 696 cc929-31
30. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in view of the continuing threats against Israel being made by Colonel Nasser, what consultations have been held with the United States of America and France, as co-signatories of the Tripartite Pact of 1951, since Her Majesty's Government last endorsed the statement made by the President of the United States on his policy in the event of the violation of frontiers or armistice lines by Israel or any Arab State, about the action to be taken jointly by the three Governments under the terms of that pact and through the United Nations.

Mr. R. A. Butler

We naturally keep in close touch with our allies on all questions affecting the peace and stability of the Middle East.

As my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan) stated on 14th May, 1963, we regard the United Nations as being primarily responsible for the maintenance of peace in the area. If any threat to peace arises we will consult immediately with the United Nations, and will take whatever action we feel may be required.

Mr. Johnson

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that it would be in the interests of peace in the Middle East if the Egyptian Government knew that an act of aggression against Israel would have more serious repercussions than a resolution before the Security Council, which probably would be vetoed?

Mr. Butler

I think that the Government of Egypt realise that this would entail serious consequences.

Mr. S. Silverman

Is the Foreign Secretary not aware that Egypt, which is being rearmed by the Soviet Union, has declared an implacable war against Israel and that the other Arab States, which are being equally strongly armed by this country, have also declared an implacable war against Israel? Does the right hon. Gentleman really think that he is contributing anything to the peace of the Middle East by encouraging a competition in arms by both sides, each of which is directed against the same small country in their midst?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir, we have no desire to encourage a race in armaments. I said in answer to an earlier Question this afternoon that it is our desire to see that peace is kept in the Middle East.

Mr. P. Williams

In this field of implacable attacks on various countries, is my hon. Friend aware that, whatever words might be used about Israel, the fact is that Egypt is attacking and invading the Yemen? What action is being taken to implement the United Nations resolution on this matter?

Mr. Butler

The Yemen raises a wider question than is raised by this Question. I hope that we may discuss it tomorrow.