Egypt (Detained British Cargo)

Oral Answers to Questions — Spain – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th September 1948.

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Photo of Mr James Hutchison Mr James Hutchison , Glasgow Central 12:00 am, 20th September 1948

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what quantity of British-owned cargo destined from Britain to Palestine has been detained in Egypt by the Egyptian authorities; and how much has been confiscated.

Photo of Mr Christopher Mayhew Mr Christopher Mayhew , Norfolk Southern

I regret that accurate figures are not available, but the value of cargoes in which there is a British interest is certainly very considerable. His Majesty's Ambassador at Cairo on instructions from my right hon. Friend has made repeated representations to the Egyptian Government about the detention and seizure of British ships and cargoes in the waters of the Suez Canal, acts which are in the view of His Majesty's Government a flagrant breach of the Suez Canal Convention. As a result of these representations a proportion of these ships and cargoes have been released, and I can assure the hon. Member that we shall continue to insist on a satisfactory solution to this question.

Photo of Mr James Hutchison Mr James Hutchison , Glasgow Central

Can the Under-Secretary say whether in the view of His Majesty's Government this action is in conformity with international law, and will he further say whether a list of articles which were considered to be contraband had been issued before the action was taken?

Photo of Mr Christopher Mayhew Mr Christopher Mayhew , Norfolk Southern

The answer to the first part of that question is that we do not consider it to be consistent. I should require notice of the second part of the hon. and gallant Member's question.