HL Deb 14 March 1956 vol 196 cc387-8

2.35 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—

  1. (1) Whether they are completely satisfied that Sudanese agreement to the project is sufficiently definite to justify British participation in the financing of the Nile High Dam;
  2. (2) If so, whether they are equally satisfied that the present policy and attitude of the Egyptian Government justifies such British participation amounting to many millions of pounds.]


My Lords, as I made clear in my reply to a Question by the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, on February 29, the Sudanese Government have agreed to the High Aswan Dam project in principle, provided certain conditions are satisfied. In those circumstances Her Majesty's Government felt justified in proceeding with talks with the Egyptian Government about financial participation in the scheme. As regards the second part of the noble Lord's Question, this project has great and obvious importance in the development of the Egyptian economy and in the improvement of the welfare of the Egyptian people. Her Majesty's Government and the United States Government have accordingly offered to the Egyptian Government their support and financial assistance to that end.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Marquess for his reply. With regard to the first part of it, I would ask him whether he has received a copy of a brochure issued by the Sudan Government, prepared by the Ministry of Irrigation in October, 1955, from which it would appear that the Sudan Agreement was by no means assured. As regards the second part of the reply by the noble Marquess, may I ask whether he does not agree that the policy of turning the other cheek can be overdone?


My Lords, as regards the first supplementary question, the noble Lord is quite right in thinking I have seen the brochure to which he refers. He will remember that I said in answer to the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, when he asked the original Question, that the acceptance, in my view, was in principle and that there were certain conditions which still had to be fulfilled. As regards the second supplementary question the noble Lord may recall that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister said last week in another place [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 549 (No. 112), col. 2243]: If the Egyptians genuinely want friendly relations with the Western Powers, that can be obtained, but not at any price.


My Lords, I thank the noble Marquess for his answers.

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