LONDON (Jul. 6)
The British Government deplores the statement made by a high-ranking Egyptian Government official that when the British troops evacuate the Suez Canal area Egypt would have an opportunity to attack Israel, Selwyn Lloyd, British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, told the House of Commons last night.
Replying to questions by Emanuel Shinwell, Laborite and former Minister of Defense in the Labor Cabinet, and by Conservative MP Julian Amery, Mr. Lloyd said that the statement by Major Salem, a member of the Egyptian ruling clique, was very much to be deplored if it “were the view of the Egyptian Government.” A moment later he removed any doubt that he thought Maj. Salem’s remarks might not have been authorized.
Commenting on Maj. Salem’s remarks that “we could not fight in Palestine with the British lurking behind our backs,” Mr. Lloyd said the statement was “very reprehensible. ” Mr. Amery suggested that the statement had created a situation making it difficult for Britain to negotiate with Egypt over the removal of British troops from the Suez area.
It was reported from Beirut earlier that Maj. Salem had also told a news conference that Egypt was ready to be the first Arab state with an army in the field in the event that the Israel-Jordan conflict spreads. “We are not as weak as some may think,” the Egyptian spokesman asserted, “and we are ready to give Israel a lesson it will not soon forget. “