Oral Answers to Questions — Saudi Arabia (Locust Control Organisation)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th May 1956.

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Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell 12:00 am, 7th May 1956

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the reasons for the disbanding of the British Desert Locust Control Organisation; and whether he will make a statement

Photo of Sir Leslie Plummer Sir Leslie Plummer , Deptford

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what representations he has made to the Saudi Arabian Government about their bringing to an end the British Desert Locust Control Organisation in Jeddah

Photo of Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker , Banbury

The Desert Locust Control Organisation of the East Africa High Commission has had a team operating in the Arabian peninsula as part of the international anti-locust campaign under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. In April of this year the Saudi Arabian Government asked this British team to withdraw, giving no reasons. Her Majesty's representative in Jedda immediately protested, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation was informed of the Saudi Arabian Government's action. I understand that the Food and Agriculture Organisation has addressed a communication to them on the matter. Recent Press reports that the British team were to leave on 1st May are incorrect.

During my recent visit to Riyadh to explore the possibility of improving our relations with Saudi Arabia, I stressed to the Saudi authorities that the expulsion of this team might lead to serious crop losses, with consequent distress among their neighbours. This could not fail to harm Saudi relations with them as well as with us

Photo of Sir Leslie Plummer Sir Leslie Plummer , Deptford

How many more insults have the British Government to take from the Arab countries before they start to put an end to this policy of favouring the Arab countries, which are fundamentally unfriendly to us, against a friendly country like Israel? Why have not the Government made stronger representations, in the name of humanity, to the Saudi Arabian Government not to take this action?

Photo of Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker , Banbury

I am sure that the hon. Member's indignation will be noted by those concerned and will support the strong representations which I personally made

Photo of Mr Alfred Robens Mr Alfred Robens , Blyth

Will the right hon. Gentleman ask the American State Department's help in this matter, in view of the fact that the Amramco Oil Company maintains Saudi Arabia?

Photo of Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker , Banbury

I do not think that that is entirely the question. It is much more the interest of neighbouring Governments, who are well aware of what is happening

Photo of Mr Alfred Robens Mr Alfred Robens , Blyth

The point is that it would appear that the only people with any influence with Saudi Arabia are the Americans. Will the hon. Gentleman state whether he will ask their good offices with the Saudi Arabians in order to carry out this work, which is so terribly important to the whole Middle East?

Photo of Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker , Banbury

Certainly I will make use of all channels of communication to bring home to the Saudi Arabians the humanitarian importance of this matter.