HC Deb 18 November 1968 vol 773 cc870-1
4. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what sums he has agreed to lend Egypt, and on what terms; to what extent it is a condition precedent of such loans that British ships incarcerated in the Suez Canal are freed, and when; and whether he will make a statement on Anglo-Egyptian relations.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

None, since the facility extended last spring was repaid. The second part of the Question, therefore, does not apply. Since the resumption of diplomatic relations with the United Arab Republic last December, our relations have been good, and I have every confidence that they will continue to be so.

Sir G. Nabarro

Now that the Minister is evidently refusing loans to Egypt, will he assure the House that he will not resume negotiations for these loans so long as Egypt builds up her military bases for use by the Soviets against the Western allies in the Mediterranean?

Mr. Roberts

The answer to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is that no application for a loan has been made or is under consideration. The answer to the second part is that any such application, if it were made, would have to be considered in all contexts, including indebtedness and every other question which affects such an application.

28. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what economic aid or other assistance has been given to the Government of the United Arab Republic; and what progress has been made in implementing the desequestration of the property of British nationals and the payment of compensation for British property that has been nationalised.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

No capital aid has been given. Technical assistance consists mainly of paying the costs of four United Arab Republic trainees in Britain. The release of sequestrated property under the 1959 Anglo-Egyptian agreement is proceeding steadily and we hope that property will soon begin to be released under the 1967 Exchange of Notes. Owners' estimates of nationalised property are with the United Arab Republic authorities.

Mr. Wall

When does the right hon. Gentleman expect to reach agreement on the nationalised property? Can he say specifically whether British nationals are now able to repatriate their own personal property under the terms of the 1967 White Paper?

Mr. Roberts

I will take note of the second question and endeavour to give the hon. Gentleman a reply.

The answer to his first question is that the next step will be to examine the comments of the United Arab Republic authorities on the lists of British property already submitted to them.