HC Deb 05 December 1956 vol 561 cc125-6W
81. Mr. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action he proposes to take to alleviate the distress and suffering among the 13,000 British subjects expelled from Egypt, so far as financial assistance and the finding of homes is concerned; and whether it is his intention to claim compensation from Egypt for this illegal action.

Commander Noble

The Egyptian authorities have denied that they intend to expel all British subjects from Egypt. In reply to the first part of the Question, I have nothing to add to the reply which my right hon. and gallant Friend the Home Secretary gave yesterday to my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, South (Sir J. Lucas).

As regards the second part of the Question, Her Majesty's Government naturally reserve the right to claim adequate compensation for any damage sustained by British subjects in Egypt, though the means by which any such claims should be settled will require consideration at the appropriate time.

86. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what arrangements will be made by Her Majesty's Government to assist British subjects who may be expelled from Egypt to join their relatives in this country, or in other countries.

Commander Noble

Her Majesty's Government have authorised the Swiss special representative in Egypt to advance travelling expenses to British subjects who may be expelled from Egypt or who decide to leave of their own accord and have asked him to assist them in arranging passages.

The Swiss representative in Egypt has recently reported that, now that there is no question of a general expulsion of all British subjects within ten days, he expects to be able to obtain passages for all those requiring them on regular airlines or shipping lines. If this expectation is not realised, however, Her Majesty's Government are prepared to make arrangements for the provision of extra transport.

89. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will give the latest information with regard to the 680 British subjects interned and the 30 British subjects imprisoned by the Egyptian authorities.

Commander Noble

No further information has become available on British subjects interned in Egypt since that contained in my hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend and to the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford (Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport) on 28th November.

Of the 30 British subjects imprisoned, four are those charged with espionage some time ago. The Swiss representative has so far not succeeded in visiting them. The remainder are British Jews who were arrested at the beginning of military action by Israel. They have twice been visited by the Swiss representative. They are kept in small cells with poor sanitation, but they receive adequate food, and their treatment by Egyptian officers and men is reported to be satisfactory. The Swiss representative expects them to be released and requested to leave Egypt shortly.