HL Deb 24 January 1956 vol 195 cc488-9

3.6 p.m.


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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, as stated by the Press, evidence has been discovered that recent Anglophobic outbreaks in Jordan were fomented or financed by Communists; and, if so, whether it will be published so that opportunity may be afforded of locating the responsibility.]


My Lords, in answer to the first part of the noble Lord's Question, I may say that the reports which Her Majesty's Government have received of the recent rioting in Jordan certainly indicate that it was organised and inspired by extremist elements in the population, including the Communists. The demonstrations of January 7 were started by organised groups of school children presumed to be acting under the direction of their teachers, many of whom are thought to be of left-wing political views. The demonstrations were joined and continued by rowdies and refugees and a certain amount of damage was done before the Arab Legion were called in to restore order. The arrest by the Jordan authorities of over 100 Communists indicates a degree of Communist responsibility. In answer to the second part of the Question, I may say that Her Majesty's Government understand that the Jordan Government will conduct an inquiry into the riots. No doubt the result of this will be published in due course.


My Lords, I thank the noble Marquess for his full and explicit Answer. If the Jordan Government is conducting an inquiry on its own, naturally I shall not press the noble Marquess further to-day, but will reserve my right to raise the Question again when their report has been published.


My Lords, would it not be true to say, on such information as has been published, that a good deal of the incitement in Jordan has come from the forces of two Arab States? I am no defender of the Communists—quite the contrary—but it would be rather unfortunate if undue blame were placed upon one section of those responsible and no mention was made of the others.


My Lords, I was directing myself to the terms of the Question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, who asked specifically whether these outbreaks were fomented or financed by Communists. I said in the course of my reply that they were inspired by extremist elements in the population, including the Communists. I therefore did not seek to attribute the whole responsibility to the Communists, and it would be quite wrong to do so.