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Saudi Arabian Oil (Shipping Agreement)

Volume 527: debated on Wednesday 19 May 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what representations have been made to the Saudi Arabian Government over their grant of a monopoly for the transport of oil in view of the discrimination against British interests; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing to add to the answer which my right hon. and learned Friend gave to the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. Hoy) on 17th May, when he said that he understood that an agreement has been made, but the text has not yet been published. If it is confirmed that the agreement will result in discrimination against British shipping, we will certainly consider what steps can usefully be taken.

Is the Minister aware that since then there have been very good indications of the type of agreement that is being entered into, including a statement by the Saudi Arabian Minister in Cairo, and it is clearly discriminatory against British shipping? Will he take action to make sure that some effective protest is made before it is too late?

We cannot do that until we get the terms of the agreement, which we are doing our best to obtain.