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Suez Canal (Neutral Zone)

Volume 531: debated on Monday 26 July 1954

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41.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will discuss with the Egyptian Government the establishment of a neutral zone in the Suez Canal area, in view of the Commonwealth support for this proposal.

No, Sir. Her Majesty's Government are not aware of any such suggestion by any Commonwealth Government.

Although this may not have been an official suggestion from Commonwealth Governments, is my hon. Friend aware that there was strong feeling in the Commonwealth that this solution, similar to that reached by the United States over Panama in 1903, might he a very useful one? Is he aware that if we had a separate nation there—a neutral nation, probably with an Arab prince as ruler—it would make for a much safer situation and command considerable support from the members of the Commonwealth?

We can deal only with the views which have been expressed by Commonwealth Governments, and, as I have informed my hon. Friend, in this case no Commonwealth Government has made any such suggestion.

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the methods whereby the United States obtained control over the Panama region have not always been universally admired, and that there are many hon. Members who would not wish Her Majesty's Government to adopt the same methods with Egypt?