HC Deb 23 October 1958 vol 592 cc259-60W
Mr. Benn

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) what progress has been made in the discussions between the technical authorities in British East Africa and the Sudan on the subject of the Nile waters to which he referred on 27th May, 1957; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what action he suggested to the Governments of Uganda and Tanganyika following the suggestion of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on 8th April, 1957, that an initiative might come from them on the subject of the Nile waters;

(3) if he has any statement to make on the prospects of a conference to discuss the Nile waters; and what action Her Majesty's Government are taking to promote negotiations.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

My right hon. and learned Friend has no statement to make on the technical exchanges which took place last year between East African territories and the Sudan. But he does not expect that any conflict of interest will arise.

On the question of a Conference to discuss Nile waters, I have nothing to add to my right hon. and learned Friend's reply to a similar Question on 27th May, 1957. Her Majesty's Government favour holding a Conference at an appropriate time. The East African Governments would of course have an important part to play in such a Conference, and they have informed my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary that they would expect to send representatives to any suitable meeting. But Her Majesty's Government consider that in present circumstances the initiative would more properly come from the major users of the Nile waters or from some accepted international authority.