HL Deb 24 February 1954 vol 185 cc1099-100

2.44 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any means exist, or measures are contemplated, (a) to prevent Major Salem from using in the Sudan language likely to cause bloodshed; (b) to deter the Egyptian Government from supplying arms to the Sudanese, while itself soliciting them from other countries; (c) to restrain the Egyptian Ambassador in this country from publishing attacks on the country to which he is accredited.]


My Lords, I presume that in the first part of his Question the noble Lord is referring to the accusations against British officials in the Sudan and the other statements attributed to Major Salah Salem and made by him in Cairo on his return from his visit to the Sudan. Her Majesty's Ambassador in Cairo, acting upon instructions, has drawn the attention of the Egyptian Government to these statements and a full reply is still awaited.

As regards the second part of the Question, the Egyptian Government can obviously not be prevented from soliciting arms from other countries. As regards the reported offer to the Sudan, Her Majesty's Government are seeking further information. As regards the last part of the Question, it is certainly unusual and as certainly most undesirable for an Ambassador accredited to this country to make public statements criticising the policy of Her Majesty's Government. It does, however, appear that the word used by the Ambassador in reply to the question what he considered to be the most important weapon used by Britain against Egypt abroad should not have been translated, as it appeared in the Press here, as "falsehoods," and means no more than "illogical" or "inconsistent arguments."


My Lords, I thank the noble Marquess for his reply. I do not propose to press this point further to-day, but I felt obliged to go on record in pointing out the increasing number of breaches of the Sudan Treaty. As to the last point, I noticed that nicety myself; but the Ambassador also charged us, of all people, with interfering with the freedom of the navigation of the Canal, which was at least a terminological inexactitude, was it not?


My Lords, arising out of the answer of the noble Marquess, may I ask whether, on the occasion of his impending visit to Khartoum, the Minister of State will consider the various reported abuses by Egypt of the Sudan Agreement?


My Lords, as the House knows, my right honourable friend the Minister of State is going primarily for the purpose of representing Her Majesty's Government on the occasion of the opening of the Sudan Parliament. He will, however, no doubt have opportunities for useful conversations.


I hope so.