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Persian Oil Dispute (International Bank's Negotiations)

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 8 April 1952

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the International Bank's negotiations in the Persian oil dispute.

Hon. Members will doubtless have seen reports in the Press of the statement made by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development on their recent attempts to make arrangements for the interim operation of the Persian oil industry pending a settlement of the dispute. The statement explains fully how the Bank came to offer its services, what was the nature of its proposals, how these proposals were viewed by the parties to the oil dispute, and how the discussions proceeded in London and Teheran and were eventually suspended by mutual agreement between the Bank and the Persian Government.The Bank was acting as a neutral and impartial intermediary between the parties to the dispute and its position in this respect is clearly brought out in the statement. I do not think it would serve any useful purpose if I attempted to summarise or to comment on the statement in detail. But in view of its importance as a record of what took place I have arranged for the text, as communicated to Her Majesty's Embassy in Washington, to be placed in the Library of the House.Hon. Members will note that the Bank, in the words of the statement, sees no prospect of going forward with its proposal in the immediate future. While I should be the first to welcome any sign from Teheran which would justify further efforts to find an acceptable basis of agreement, I am bound to say that at the moment I agree with the Bank.I am sure the House would wish me to express appreciation to the Bank for its initiative and for the time and patience which the negotiators have devoted to the execution of their difficult task.