HC Deb 26 April 1965 vol 711 cc26-7
38. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will instruct the United Kingdom representative of the United Nations to raise the issue of Jordan waters under Article 24(1) of the Charter to ensure the maintenance of international peace and security.

Mr. George Thomson

Not at present, Sir. None of the States immediately concerned has requested that the matter should be considered by the Security Council, and I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by Her Majesty's Government taking an initiative of this kind at this stage.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

As the information from all sources is that pressure is building up in this part of the world, will the Minister think of looking again at the Johnston Plan of about eight years ago which so very nearly reached acceptance by all concerned?

Mr. Thomson

The Government consider the Johnston Plan to have been a very useful one, and in connection with the current dispute about the use of the Jordan waters we do in fact use that plan as a general guide line for the allocation of water between Israel and the Arab States.

Sir B. Janner

I thank my hon. Friend for his reply, but is it not a fact that all the Governments concerned accepted the Johnston Plan and that it has been held up for political reasons purely with a view to doing damage to Israel? As the waters of the Jordan are the life-blood of Israel and are instrumental in creating new life in the desert, will my hon. Friend see to it that it is brought home to the contending Arab parties that their action is anti-moral as well as anti-logical?

Mr. Thomson

I think it was a great pity that the Johnston Plan which came so very near to acceptance was not finally accepted by all the countries concerned.

Her Majesty's Government have expressed the view to the Arab Governments that they should exercise restraint over the diversion plan which would deny water to Israel, and we have told the Israeli Government that they should take the issue to the United Nations rather than resort to force should anything happen which they regard as provocative or excessive.

Mr. Maudling

The hon. Gentleman has explained that he does not regard this proposal as appropriate. In view of the very serious danger clearly implicit in the whole situation, can he assure the House that Her Majesty's Government will look for every possible opportunity of an initiative to try to reach a settlement?

Mr. Thomson

We are very much aware of the dangers in this situation, and we will, of course, take up any opportunity that seems to be useful for an initiative.

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