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Anglo-Egyptian Financial Agreement

Volume 600: debated on Wednesday 18 February 1959

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the estimated value of the abandoned British claim in respect of the Suez base seized by Egypt; and the amount Egypt claimed for war damage in the Suez campaign.

Until the signature of an agreement with the Government of the United Arab Republic my right hon. and learned Friend has no statement to make on these matters.

What has the right hon. Gentleman to hide? These figures are known to the Foreign Office. Why cannot they be given to the House? Are they something to be covered up and to be ashamed of? Furthermore, does the right hon. Gentleman realise that dispatch after dispatch from Cairo makes clear that until the agreement is signed British industrialists are losing trade to the value of millions of pounds to foreign markets —to the Czechs, Americans and Germans —and will he do something to speed up the signing and so give us a chance in world trade?

It is certainly our desire to see this agreement signed as soon as possible. I do not think that an answer to some of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary questions would help in getting that speedy signature.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reply he has received from the Egyptian Government to his proposal to establish a British Mission in Cairo.

The hon. Member will understand that I cannot inform the House about the provisions of the agreement now being negotiated with Egypt until it has been signed. But there is no difference between the two Governments on the nature of the representation which it will be necessary for Her Majesty's Government to have in Cairo in order to implement the terms of the agreement and to help and advise British subjects.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is or is not the case that after the agreement was initialled, the British Government sought to impose conditions, and can he say what those conditions were?

No, that is not the case. I appreciate the difficulties of the hon. Member in that if one reads newspaper accounts, they are conflicting, and, therefore, cannot all be true. I assure the House that we wish to see this agreement signed as soon as possible, and then full details can be disclosed to the House.