HC Deb 23 October 1972 vol 843 cc757-9
7. Mr. Clinton Davis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement concerning discussions which he has had with members and proposed members of the European Economic Community regarding policies in the Middle East.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

The members of the enlarged Community attach great importance to an early political settlement of the Arab/Israel dispute and are keeping the situation in the Middle East under careful review.

Mr. Davis

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree, however, that there has been a most unfortunate and almost unprecedented coincidence of view between Her Majesty's Government and the French Government very recently over the Middle East? Does he not agree that for years France has adopted a most hostile and partisan attitude towards Israel? Does he not also agree that this coincidence of view was reflected most recently at the United Nations when the Government refused to support an American resolution which condemned the terrorist outrage at Munich and the Arab Governments which aided and abetted that outrage yet at the same time condemned Israel for embarking on a policy of retaliation? Is this not a matter which reflects a very serious alignment between the French and British Governments?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

No, Sir, I could not accept that interpretation. The Governments of France and Britain, as well as the other members of the Commuity, are very anxious to see a fair settlement of this dispute. I am equally conscious that no Government or combination of Governments can impose a settlement on either the Israelis or the Arabs. As for what the hon. Gentleman says about our attitude towards terrorism, we made it quite clear at once and have done so constantly that we are opposed to these terrorist activities. We simply do not think that retaliatory action on the scale used by Israel helps an ultimate answer to this problem.

Mr. Wilkinson

Does my right hon. Friend agree that Security Council Resolution No. 242 of November, 1967, still offers the best chance of a reasonable and fair settlement in that part of the world? Will he confirm that his admirable speech at Harrogate on 31st October 1970, is still very much the policy of Her Majesty's Government?

Sir Alec Douglas-Horne

Yes, Sir; and United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 242 is acceptable both to ourselves and to the French. I have said that no settlement can be imposed from outside, but the outline of the settlement I made in my speech at Harrogate two years ago is still the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Callaghan

On the question of discussions with the EEC, since the right hon. Gentleman has a remit to produce a common foreign policy by 30th June next—God help him!—can he say whether the Middle East is included in this remit or whether, at France's request, that subject will be excluded from any common foreign policy?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

All the members of the European partnership are willing to try to see whether we can help towards a settlement in the Middle East. Therefore, it is a very good thing that we should meet from time to time to clear our own views. It remains to be seen whether we can put forward a settlement acceptable to both parties.

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