Britain Urged to Conclude Mutual Defense Pact with Israel: Suez Role Foreseen
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Britain Urged to Conclude Mutual Defense Pact with Israel: Suez Role Foreseen

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The question of British shipment of arms to Egypt continued to be the subject of debate in Commons for a second day today as a vote of censure of the Labor Government was demanded by Winston Churchill, leader of the Parliamentary oppositon.

Herbert Morrison, Lord President of the Council, today endorsed a promise made to the House last night by Foreign Under Secretary Ernest Davies who told the rebellious M.P.’s that 16 Centurian (heavy) tanks which are destined for shipment to Egypt will remain in this country until after Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin makes a policy statement on them to Parliament. Lord Morrison also announced that Secretary Bevin will speak to Parliament next week, but refused to promise a general debate at the conclusion of Mr. Bevin’s statement.

In connection with the two-day debate, Lord Strabolgi tonight called for a mutual defense pact between Israel and Britain. Speaking at a Maccabi meeting, Lord Strabolgi said that under such circumstances Israel could take over responsibility for the defense of the Suez Canal and release British soldiers of that task.

Asserting that the Suez Canal can be attacked or defended from Israel bases, Lord Strabolgi insisted that the Jewish state “cannot hope to become another Switzerland in this troubled world.” If Israel were to take over the defense of the Canal, he suggested, it could provide naval and air bases for United Nations forces in the event of an emergency. In return, he said, Israel could look for assistance in the event that it was the victim of aggression and would get economic aid in its present situation.

During the debate yesterday, Richard Crossman, Laborite and former member of the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry on Palestine, charged that Egypt did not want arms to fight Communism but to attack Israel. He was joined by Laborite R.T. Paget who declared that Egypt was openly threatening the Jewish state and pointed out that if Israel became the victim of aggression Britain might find itself facing its own tanks in any international intervetion in behalf of the Jews. Mr. Davies replied that he could not accept the view that Egypt would attack Israel because the Arab states had promised that if they received arms the weapons would be used for defensive purposes only.

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