HL Deb 26 February 1970 vol 308 cc170-1

3.28 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask a Question, of which I have given Private Notice; namely:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will state the latest developments concerning the transport of cargo and mail by air from the United Kingdom to Israel.


My Lords, I am informed that, following consultation with their staff, from to-morrow B.E.A. will accept at Heathrow cargo and letter mail destined for Tel Aviv under strict security arrangements which have been explained to the staff. At Rome and Athens, which are intermediate points of call on certain of B.E.A.'s services, the acceptance of cargo will be resumed as soon as B.E.A. management is satisfied about security controls.

In the case of B.O.A.C., discussions with their staff on improved security measures are continuing, and the renewed acceptance of cargo awaits the outcome of these discussions.


My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for answering that Question. I am sure the House will appreciate the speedy decision which has been taken by the management and staff of B.E.A. in a very difficult case. May I ask the Minister, on the wider context, whether any date has yet been fixed by ICAO for convening this international conference? It could, I believe, have a very important effect if convened early enough.


My Lords, as I indicated yesterday—I speak off the cuff—I think it is March 3 when the European members of ICAO will be meeting and dealing with the problem which mostly concerns us. The other date has not yet been fixed.


My Lords, can the noble Lord confirm that maximum security steps are now actually in force at Heathrow?


Yes, my Lords; I am glad to confirm that that is the case.

May I lake the opportunity of clarifying an answer which I gave to my noble friend Lord Wells-Pestell yesterday, when he asked me a simple question about discrimination against Israeli mail? I endeavoured to give a simple answer in what is a very complicated situation. The actual position is that B.O.A.C. have never refused letter mail to Israel, and B.E.A. will, as from to-morrow, be accepting letter mail, but not letter postal packets.