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British Government “deplores” Egyptian Blockade of Israel-bound Traffic Through Suez

The British Government “heartily deplores” the Egyptian Government’s blockade of the Suez Canal on Israel-bound shipping, Foreign Secretary Herbert C. Morrison declared today in Parliament.

Last night, during the sharp debate on the Anglo-Egyptian financial agreement, Conservative deputy leader Anthony Eden made a deep impression on the M.P.’s when he insisted that no concession on oil supplies be made to Egypt. Outlining Israel’s many difficulties in foreign exchange and petroleum supply problems resulting from the Suez blockade, Mr. Eden charged that the cutting off of crude oil supplies have reduced the Haifa refineries’ operations to one-quarter of capacity, entailing an annual loss of 20,000,000 pounds.

R.T. Paget, Labor M.P., said that this is the time to tell the Egyptians: “Your quarrel with Israel must come to an end.” Richard Crossman, another Laborite leader, declared that Britain’s only friends in the Middle East are Israel, Jordan and Turkey. Chancellor of the Exchequer Hugh Gaitskell denied that the Egyptian pact was more favorable than the Israeli agreement, pointing out that Israel Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan had thought the Anglo-Israel agreement generous.

The presence of both Secretary Morrison and former Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin today at a luncheo tendered by Israel Minister Eliahu Elath in honor of a Parliamentary delegation which will shortly leave on a visit to Israel was considered in diplomatic circles most significant in connection with improving Anglo-Israeli relations. Members of the delegation are Glenvill Hall, its head, Lord Samuel, Capt. George Chetwynd, John Henderson, J.H. Hoy, D.F. Vosper and E.B. Wakefield.

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