Yes. I think that the hon. Gentleman is right about that. It is not possible at this stage to say what is the net cost to our balance of payments of the Middle East fighting. Obviously, there will be some effect, but not as great as has been forecast in some quarters.
Has my right hon. Friend anything to say about the 270 Arab personnel who are at present receiving training in Army, Navy and Air Force establishments in this country? Does he not think, as the war is not over, that it is about time that we stopped training Arabs to kill Israelis?
Can the Prime Minister be more explicit about the actual cost per month on the balance of payments, at least with regard to imports? I understand the difficulty about exports, but figures have been given as high as £180 million a year for imports alone. Can he correct this more explicitly?
I think that it is too early to make an estimate. Any figure of that kind would be an extraordinary estimate on anything that we know at the present time. It is too early to say even what was the effect on our June import position of the non-arrival of cargoes, for example because of the closure of the Suez Canal, but anything like the rate mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman is far beyond any estimate that I have seen.
Would my right hon. Friend agree that any proposal which might be put forward to achieve a lasting peace in this area must include the fact that the ordinary Arabs should share in the revenues from oil and that this, allied to the interchange of ideas and information between the Israelis and Arabs, could lead both of them together to launch a real attack on the problems of that area, which are ignorance, disease and poverty?
I think that that objective would be supported by hon. Members on both sides of the House. A more equitable share of the oil revenues was a point often made by Aneurin Bevan when we debated Middle Eastern issues in this House and certainly Israel has shown that she has a great deal to contribute to world development once the political bars to co-operation between Jew and Arab are removed.
I am sorry if the hon. Gentleman did not approve of the statement that I made about the Straits of Tiran, which was fully supported by his Front Bench in the debate that immediately followed, and by Opposition Front Bench spokesmen. The question of the Suez Canal was dealt with yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. It is necessary to create the political conditions—we have to be realistic about this, including the question of possible military activity on both sides of the Canal—before we are likely to see a rapid movement towards clearing the Canal. As my right hon. Friend said, the agreement to have United Nations observers on the Canal is a useful step towards this.
Can the Prime Minister give us an assurance that Her Majesty's Government's representatives at the United Nations will press that in any lasting settlement in the Middle East the situation in the Yemen will be dealt with, where reports of the use of poison gas are horrifying, and do not seem to receive the attention they deserve?
I think that they have received the attention they deserve. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, they have frequently been condemned by my right hon. Friend and other members of the Government, and also at the United Nations where this matter was the subject of some debate recently. This is a deplorable development. Any final settlement for the Middle East must take up the question of the Yemen, but the question of atrocities in warfare is a matter which should be dealt with separately, and should be dealt with by universal condemnation by the whole of mankind.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is still a great deal of concern about the position of Arab refugees arising from the last armed clash? Can my right hon. Friend say what kind of international action can be taken and should be taken quickly to alleviate the hardship and misery of so many Arab refugees in the Middle Eastern area?
My hon. Friend is right, and indeed from the earliest debates that we have had on the present crisis, even before the fighting began, I think hon. Members on both sides stressed this as a matter of urgency, which has been made much more urgent by the increase in the number of refugees. This was one of the subjects dealt with in a Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations. We are giving what help we can to the refugees on the West Bank, and there is, I think, a sense of urgency among those concerned to try to get this problem dealt with as a humane operation first, and then settled as a political operation afterwards.