HC Deb 02 August 1965 vol 717 cc1046-7
20. Mr. Jackson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on Anglo-United Arab Republic relations; and what plans he has for a Ministerial visit to Cairo.

27. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he is taking to strengthen relations between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Republic.

Mr. George Thomson

On the questions both of strengthening relations between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Republic and the possibility of a Ministerial visit to Cairo I would refer the hon. Members to what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in the House on 19th July.

Mr. Jackson

I recognise that there are serious political differences between the U.A.R. and the United Kingdom. However, would not the Minister agree that we could make some progress with trade, bearing in mind that Western Germany, the Soviet Union and the United States are far ahead of us in this relationship?

Mr. Thomson

Yes, Sir. Trading relations between the United Arab Republic and ourselves are one of the subjects in which improvement is possible and one of the subjects which could well come on the agenda for a Ministerial visit, if it took place.

Mr. Wall

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that the 1959 Agreement is not working, in either the letter or the spirit, and that a pre-condition for any better relations with Egypt would be either the restoration of property seized from British nationals in October, 1961, or the payment of fair compensation?

Mr. Thomson

These are complicated questions, as the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall), who is an expert on them, knows. I hope that one of the results of the present dialogue between the U.A.R. and ourselves will be an improvement in this matter.

Mr. Maudling

Will there not be conditions about the activities of Cairo Radio before any question of a Ministerial visit can arise?

Mr. Thomson

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, the Prime Minister and many others of us have made it clear to the United Arab Republic that the output from Cairo Radio inciting violence in South Arabia is one of the obstacles to better relations between our two countries.

Mr. William Yates

Will the Minister agree that if there are differences, first, over finance, secondly, over relations with South-West Arabia and, thirdly, over Cairo Radio, the presence of a Minister of State is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary at this time?

Mr. Thomson

We hope that if the circumstances for a Ministerial visit can be brought about, it will help in these matters.