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British Nationals, Suez Canal Zone (Attacks)

Volume 523: debated on Monday 1 February 1954

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52.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he has taken to satisfy himself that the Egyptian Government are taking all possible steps to prevent attacks on British nationals in the Canal Zone and to apprehend and punish offenders when attacks do occur.

I am not satisfied that the Egyptian Government have throughout taken all possible steps to prevent attacks on British nationals in the Canal Zone, or to apprehend and punish offenders. During the months of November and December there was a period during which there were no serious incidents, but, as the House is aware, that period was followed by a series of deplorable happenings including the murders of British soldiers. Her Majesty's Government protested in the most vigorous terms, and for about the last 10 days, as far as I am aware, there has been no further serious incident.

:Will my right hon. Friend make it clear to the Egyptian Government that the British people are not in the least impressed by this thuggery, whether it is Egyptian Government sponsored or not, and that if they wish to continue negotiations with Her Majesty's Government, the necessary preliminary is to keep and maintain order in their own house?

:As I have told my hon. Friend, Her Majesty's Government protested in the most vigorous terms and, since the date of those protests, the situation has been much better.