HC Deb 03 July 1972 vol 840 cc23-4
22. Mr. Edward Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he is satisfied that the agreements concluded between the French and Iraqi Governments and between the Italian State oil company and the Iraqi Government will not prejudice Great Britain's oil supplies from Iraq or compensation claims in respect of the seizure of the assets of the Iraq Petroleum Company; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Godber

We have received firm assurances from the French Government that in their negotiations with the Iraq Government they have been concerned not to prejudice the interests of the British, Dutch and United States shareholders of the Iraq Petroleum Company.

We do not at present have sufficient knowledge about the Italian negotiations for the purchase of Iraq oil to know how these would affect the position on compensation for the Iraq Petroleum Company.

Mr. Taylor

Will my right hon. Friend say whether the Italian Government consulted us before their State oil company came to a private deal with the Iraqis after the Iraq Government had effectively seized part of our assets in that country?

Mr. Godber

As I said, we have not yet sufficient information on the Italian negotiations. I would prefer not to comment on them.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Does this not show the urgent need for a concerted European policy on this as on other such issues?

Mr. Godber

Yes, a concerted European policy is always valuable. We have had the closest contact with the French Government on the actions taken there. I understand that the Iraq Petroleum Company is content that the French agreement does not in any way prejudice its interests.

Mr. Shore

On the point of concerted European policy, will the Minister assure us that this matter will be put on the agenda of the next meeting of the so-called European Political Union—or whatever is the body that is being set up?

Mr. Godber

I should not like to give an assurance on the exact forum of consultation on this matter. The right hon. Gentleman will know that various contacts are maintained in regard to oil matters, and I should prefer not to comment further.

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