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Middle East (Mr. Menzies' Statement)

Oral Answers to Questions — Commonwealth Relations – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 1957.

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Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South 12:00 am, 28th November 1957

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what proposals for a settlement in the Middle East have been made to him by the Prime Minister of Australia; and whether he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Cuthbert Alport Mr Cuthbert Alport , Colchester

I assume that the right hon. Gentleman refers to a speech which Mr. Menzies made to the Federal Council of the Australian Liberal Party on 21st October of which a copy has been supplied to the United Kingdom Government by the Australian Government. As my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on 8th November, Her Majesty's Government agree whole-heartedly with what Mr. Menzies said regarding the objectives we must strive to achieve if the problems of this troubled area are to be solved. Her Majesty's Government recognise Mr. Menzies' statement as being both timely and constructive, but for the present there is nothing I can usefully add to the Minister of State's remarks.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

Is not it a fact that the Government said nothing to give Mr. Menzies support until I raised the matter in the debate on 8th November? Have the Government, in the light of what has happened since then, no plans for giving support to Mr. Menzies' very statemanslike proposals in the Assembly of the United Nations?

Photo of Mr Cuthbert Alport Mr Cuthbert Alport , Colchester

I think that Mr. Menzies is already very well aware of the importance we always attach to any statement he may make on matters of this sort.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

Would not it help to promote Commonwealth co-operation if we sometimes said we agreed with a statesmanlike proposal?

Photo of Mr Cuthbert Alport Mr Cuthbert Alport , Colchester

I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the statement by the Minister of State on this subject, which was made within a matter of days of Mr. Menzies' statement, and which did display the fact that we took the greatest encouragement from what Mr. Menzies said.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

Was it not made only after I had raised the matter in debate?