The Egyptian document in question was a draft, and it has not been published officially. We have expressed our views on this draft to the United States, French and other interested Governments. The United States Ambassador in Cairo is discussing it with the Egyptian Government, and until these discussions have reached a conclusion I am not in a position to make a statement.
Do the Government agree with the view of the United Nations Secretary-General that there seems to be no serious conflict between the Egyptian Government's memorandum and the six principles? Can the Minister give any indication whether there is likely to be a conference with the Government of Egypt on the matter in the near future?
Of course, by saying that there is nothing in conflict with the Resolution of the Security Council, it does not follow that this draft memorandum covered all the points in that Resolution. That is what discussions are now taking place about. I think it might be fair to say that the points in the memorandum do not run contrary, but they do not go far enough. As regards a conference with the Egyptians on the matter, I am afraid that I have no statement to make.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the fact that the Answer he has given made no reference to the 1951 Resolution demanding that Israel had the right to send her ships through is extremely sinister? Is he prepared to take more action than the Government have done since 1951 to see that that Resolution is implemented?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Israelis intend, probably in the very near future, to send a ship through as a test case? Is he also aware that it is reported in the Press that Cairo Radio is threatening to destroy any Israeli ship that tries to go through the Canal? In such circumstances, what action would Her Majesty's Government take?
Is not the right hon. Gentleman very unhappy at having to give so many negative replies today? Is he aware that, according to the New York Herald Tribune, the number of shipowners who have asked to be transferred to the Liberian flag has increased by 200 per cent, since the Canal was reopened, including a large number of British shipowners? Shipowners, being good Conservatives, believe in private profit being paramount, but is there not a danger that more ships will be transferred from the Red Ensign to the flags of Liberia, Panama, Costa Rica and other countries?
Surely the Minister can give some direction in the near future to British shipping or it will be heavily handicapped. Are we to understand from the right hon. Gentleman's previous answer that the Government are prepared to have a settlement on the basis of the six principles that we could have had in October?
As I have already said, we propose to negotiate on the six principles. There is no evidence that we could have got agreement with the Egyptian Government on those six principles If the hon. Gentleman will read the reply of Dr. Fawzi, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, he will see that he made certain conditional demands with regard to the six principles of the Resolution of 13th October.
Any settlement has also to be on the basis of the 1888 Convention. That is one of the things that are being discussed with the Egyptian Government at the present time.
Have not the Egyptian Government, in their latest proposals, accepted full arbitration on all points, including reference to the International Court, of any dispute about the 1888 Convention?