HL Deb 25 March 1975 vol 358 cc1100-1

2.57 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask a Question of which I have given Private Notice. The Question is as follows: To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make a Statement on the assassination on King Faisal.


My Lords, Her Majesty's Government have heard with a sense of stock and dismay the tragic news of the assassination of His Majesty King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. We do not yet know the motive for this crime. Nor can we yet foretell its consequences. But I am sure the House will join me in expressing our profound sorrow at the passing of this great Arab and Moslem leader and world statesman. The Arabs have lost one of their foremost sons at a time when wise and moderate counsels are so badly needed. Britain has lost a staunch and valued friend, and we— and, I am sure, the whole House— extend our deepest sympathy and concern to all our Saudi Arabian friends at this critical time.


My Lords, I know that everybody on this side of the House would like to associate themselves with what the noble Lord has very properly said. King Faisal was a friend, though not an uncritical friend, of this country, and not only we but the Western World in general will greatly feel his death. We must hope that events in Saudi Arabia will provide a successor who is as wise an international statesman as was King Faisal.


My Lords, this is a very great tragedy. I do not think it is an occasion when one can say anything of much value "off the cuff". King Faisal was a great leader; and I and my colleagues certainly join in the expressions of sympathy.

Lord HOME of the HIRSEL

My Lords, I wonder whether your Lordships would allow me, as I had many contacts with King Faisal and his family, to associate myself with the expressions of shock and dismay being voiced by my honourable friends and noble Lords? It is a tragedy that this man of authority, wisdom and foresight should be removed from the counsels of the Arab nations at this very critical time. I associate myself with everything that has been said.


My Lords, I should like to associate myself with the sympathy that has been expressed on the death of King Faisal. I led a Parliamentary delegation to Saudi Arabia in 1966, when we made a big arms deal, supplying internal defences. When the previous King had been deposed he took the throne of Saudi Arabia. I always found him to be a good, genial man and, apart from all the Arab troubles, I am sure that he was a friend of Britain.