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Sudan (Egyptian Minister's Visit)

Volume 523: debated on Monday 1 February 1954

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54.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that the Anglo-Egyptian Agreement on the Sudan of 12th February, 1953, provides for self-determination to be carried out in a free and neutral atmosphere, he will make representations to the Egyptian Government about the visit to the Sudan of the Egyptian Minister for National Guidance.

Her Majesty's Ambassador in Cairo has already made representations to the Egyptian Government on this subject. Article 1 of the Anglo/Egyptian Agreement on the Sudan says that the purpose of the present transitional period of self-government is to enable the Sudanese to exercise self-determination in a free and neutral atmosphere. It is therefore fundamental to the Agreement that the two contracting parties should not engage in activities which are designed to defeat that purpose.The Egyptian Minister concerned has been quoted by the Press as saying that his visit is "private and unofficial." We are quite unable to accept the description "private and unofficial" of this visit to the Sudan by the Minister of National Guidance in the Egyptian Government. The facts speak for themselves. He is the Minister in the Egyptian Government responsible for internal and external propaganda. He was accompanied by the Minister of War in the Egyptian Government and by a large following of journalists and photographers, all transported in special Egyptian military aircraft, and his visit has lasted more than two weeks and taken him to all parts of the Sudan.