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British Bases, Middle East (Consultations)

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 29 July 1954

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what consultations have taken place between the United Kingdom Government and the various Commonwealth Governments on the future of British bases in the Middle East; and with what results.

In accordance with the usual practice, other Commonwealth Governments have been continuously informed of the views and intentions of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom.

Do I understand from my hon. Friend that decisions are now come to rather than that consultations take place?

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the Commonwealth Governments were, in fact, consulted and, if so, what were their views?

The answer to the first part of that supplementary question is "Yes," and the answer to the second part is that it is not the practice to give details of consultations between Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries.

Is it not better that this matter should be referred to the United Nations rather than that either the Commonwealth countries or ourselves should deal with it independently?

Is it the intention of Her Majesty's Government, in relation to defence in the Middle East, to include the question of a Middle East defence organisation?

Does not the hon. Gentleman know anything about it, or is he not permitted to say anything about it?