HC Deb 07 March 1955 vol 538 cc4-5W
69. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what instructions have been sent to our representative at the United Nations and what representations have been made by the United Nations Organisation to the Governments concerned, with a view to relieving tension on the Egyptian-Israeli frontier.

Mr. Nutting

General Burns, Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation, issued on 1st March a statement that on 28th February Israeli armed forces violently attacked the Egyptian military position near the Gaza railway station. Preliminary reports from United Nations Observers indicated that automatic weapons, mortars, hand grenades, Molotov cocktails, and a large quantity of explosives, were used. The Egyptian Government state that casualties on their side were 39 persons killed and 32 wounded.

Her Majesty's Government at once expressed to the Israeli Government their grave concern at this incident. They also expressed to the Egyptian Government their sympathy with the victims. On 1st March the Secretary-General of the United Nations sent a message to the Governments of Egypt and Israel asking them to take urgent steps to protect United Nations property and personnel and to co-operate with General Burns in the immediate restoration of order.

The Security Council met on 4th March to consider the Egyptian complaint. On instructions, the United Kingdom Delegate to the United Nations expressed Her Majesty's Government's concern at the incident and his deep sympathy with the Egyptian Government for the casualties suffered. He said that, without wishing to anticipate the findings of the Mixed Armistice Commission the prima facie evidence in General Burns' statement pointed to the fact that Israeli armed forces had carried out a premeditated attack on Egyptian-controlled territory. The Security Council adjourned the same day to await the Mixed Armistice Commission's findings.

The President of the Security Council has called on both parties to abstain from the use of force or other acts calculated to aggravate the situation. According to Press reports, the Mixed Armistice Commission has now adopted a Resolution which condemns Israel for carrying out a pre-arranged and planned attack by her regular armed forces against the regular armed forces of Egypt at Gaza on the night of 28th February.