HC Deb 01 March 1965 vol 707 cc906-7
5. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of talks with the United Arab Republic Government on compensation for British property re-sequestrated in October 1961.

Mr. George Thomson

We have now formally proposed to the United Arab Republic authorities that our two Governments should enter into negotiations over both resequestrated and nationalised British property in Egypt. The date for these negotiations has yet to be fixed, but a meeting between officials and representatives of the owners of the affected property is now being arranged as a necesssary preliminary to negotiations.

Mr. Wall

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the United Arab Republic Government have agreed on the principle of compensation, and will he bear in mind that many of the properties re-sequestrated were covered by the terms of the 1959 Anglo-Egyptian Agreement but that those terms could not be implemented before the properties were again taken away? Will the hon. Gentleman therefore continue to press for adequate compensation for all concerned?

Mr. Thomson

There are talks going on all the time with the United Arab Republic authorities over a wide range of property questions. On the particular issues raised by the hon. Member's Question, our Note went from our Embassy in Cairo to the Government of the United Arab Republic on 24th February. We have not yet had time to receive a formal reply, but on the official level the United Arab authorities have indicated their willingness to negotiate.

Mr. William Yates

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of how many of those who suffered from the sequestration remember the Government's undertaking that more money would be made available, if necessary, to pay for these properties? Does the hon. Gentleman realise that many of those who had to negotiate are deeply grateful to those in the Embassy in Cairo who have given so much help in a difficult time?

Mr. Thomson

We are aware of the matters raised by the hon. Member, and I am obliged to him for his final comments.