Persia (Anglo-Iranian Oil Company)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st June 1951.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington 12:00 am, 21st June 1951

Then let the hon. Gentleman take the action; we will support him in it. If we do not, he can make all the complaints he likes in every constituency in the land.

As things are, we have the impression that our own people have no means of self-defence should disturbances break out again. There have been disturbances recently—not very recently, fortunately, but recently—in which three British lives were lost. That makes all the heavier the Government's responsibility to see to it that the necessary protection is at hand to meet any danger that may suddenly arise. That, as we see it, is their first charge.

I observe in "The Times" of this morning that the Middle East Defence Committee of the Commonwealth meets in London today. I wish it could have met a little earlier than this. I hope that these matters are first on their agenda and will be taken urgently into consideration by them, and that they will devise plans and prepare their execution of those plans, whatever decisions they may arrive at. But it is very late. For fully three years—perhaps longer—there has been a vacuum in our Middle East policy and in our Middle East defence plan. It may be that if these preparations had been made earlier these events would never have developed as they have done.