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Egypt (Arms Supplies)

Volume 481: debated on Wednesday 22 November 1950

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51.

asked the Minister of Defence what modern defence equipment has been sold or allocated to the Egyptian Government in recent months.

Arms have been supplied or allocated to Egypt in accordance with our obligations under the Anglo-Egyptian alliance and in conformity with the Tripartite Declaration of May this year and in accordance with the country's defensive requirements. These have included limited quantities of ammunition, guns, various armoured vehicles and spares, aircraft and naval supplies. The release of such material is, of course, authorised with due regard for the needs of our Forces.

Is it not a fact that we are very short of all forms of modern defence equipment and that the Egyptian Government pay for these things out of sterling balances? Is it not also a fact that we might well assist the Government in trying to save some of this country's money if we did not go on with these sales at this time?

Could I ask what exactly the position is now? I do not say that the Egyptian Government have denounced the Treaty, but, as I understand it, they have at any rate taken up an attitude which shows they have no great desire to fulfil its terms. In view of that, should we not, at least, suspend delivery of any further war materials to Egypt until Egypt makes plain her own attitude to the Treaty?

Was not the Anglo-Egyptian Agreement violated from the other side by the action of the Egyptians in stopping the passage of peaceful British ships going through the Suez Canal, and is it sensible that we should continue to supply the Egyptians with arms in order to give them the power to stop our ships from sailing on their lawful trading occasions?