HC Deb 24 July 1967 vol 751 cc55-6

3.31 p.m.

Mr. John Fraser

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the assistance which Great Britain will afford to the Government of Turkey following the recent tragic earthquakes.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. William Rodgers)

Her Majesty's Consul at Istanbul has visited the area affected by the earthquake in order to determine what assistance would be most valuable.

The Turkish Government have been informed that R.A.F. Cyprus have two aircraft standing by which could fly in a mountain rescue team and a quantity of tents and OXFAM have also offered help. But the local authorities say that they have all they need, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs consider that help is unlikely to be required.

Messages of sympathy have meanwhile been sent by Her Majesty the Queen and the Secretary of State.

Mr. Fraser

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. He will be aware of the sympathy of the House in the loss suffered by the Turks at Adapazari. Would he take the opportunity to have discussions with the Turkish Minister of Reconstruction, who, I believe, is at present in this country?

Mr. Rodgers

I am very glad of what my hon. Friend says and I am sure that the whole House would wish to be associated with the sentiments already expressed. Certainly, we will have whatever discussions may be required, because we want to help if we are needed.

Lord Balniel

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we on these benches would also like to be associated with his expression of sympathy to the people of Turkey, who have suffered more than their fair share of misfortune in the past year, and that, if help is needed, we will be anxious to support it?

Mr. Rodgers indicated assent.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the telephone message which I put through to his Department this morning about over 100 of my constituents from Macclesfield who were travelling near the earthquake, and that any information which he can give on that point would be much appreciated?

Mr. Rodgers: We will certainly let the hon. Gentleman know if we have any news, but there is no reason at present to believe that any British subjects have suffered injury.