HC Deb 07 December 1970 vol 808 cc35-6
28. Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he will submit to the United Nations concerning guarantees for any settlement in the Middle East.

Mr. Godber

We have no immediate plans to put forward proposals on the subject. This is one of the matters which has been the subject of discussion in the Four-Power talks in New York.

Mr. Judd

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, but does not he agree that effective guarantees are an essential key to any settlement in the Middle East and that on this occasion we must not repeat the mistake made in 1956 by denying teeth to any military presence, as it was previously denied as a result of the British and French veto in 1956, and that it is therefore necessary for the Security Council to support any military presence with its authority; if one or two super-Powers are hesitant about becoming involved directly in guaranteeing a settlement, has the right hon. Gentleman considered the possibility of a European initiative?

Mr. Godber

This is one of the most sensitive issues in the whole problem of the Middle East. There are others, but this is one of tremendous importance. We have obviously had discussions with our colleagues and others to see whether we can find ways and means of providing satisfactory guarantees. We certainly have thoughts in relation to this, but I do not think that it would help if I were to set them out this afternoon.

Mr. Walters

Will the Minister exercise his influence in trying to bring about the maximum degree of European participation in any settlement in the Middle East?

Mr. Godber

Yes, Sir. It would obviously be necessary to have European participation. That will be one aspect that we shall bear in mind.

Mr. Mayhew

The Minister's replies have been encouraging, but can he say specifically that there is no objection in principle to a French or British contribution to a United Nations force on Israel's old frontiers, if and when she withdraws to them?

Mr. Godber

We should not be opposed to providing a contingent to such a force. The main thing is to obtain agreement among the parties concerned on the sort of force that would give them an adequate feeling of security.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg

Will my right hon. Friend try to make the point that if such a force is established it will not succeed if, as in the case of the last one, it is at the behest of a dictator?

Mr. Godber

Without commenting on what happened before, I would say that the best thing, if this were to be done under United Nations auspices, would be to make it subject to a Security Council resolution, which would mean that any of the major parties concerned could veto any suggestion of a withdrawal.

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