LONDON (Apr. 4)
The British Parliament was assured today that there is nothing in the Turkish-Iraqi defense pact–to which Britain became a party today–which should cause anxiety to Israel or any other state in the Middle East.
The assurance came from Anthony Nutting, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, who appeared in Parliament to answer questions during the debate on British adherence to the pact. He implied that there is no obstacle to prevent Britain from concluding a separate defense pact with Israel.
“There is nothing in the pact which need threaten, weaken or cause anxiety to any state in the Middle East.” Mr. Nutting told the House of Commons. “The pact is directed against no one in the area, against no state or group of states. Indeed, it respects the independence of all countries and offers a specific guarantee to any state who should accede.”
Asked whether the exchange of letters between Turkey and Iraq, which is attached to the pact and against which Israel protested, did not prevent Israel’s accession, Mr. Nutting replied: “Israel is not, under the existing circumstances, in a position to accede to the pact, because under Article 5, the pact is open for accession to any member of the Arab League or any other state actively concerned with the security and peace of this region; and which is fully recognized by both high contracting parties.”
Mr. Nutting went on to state that the British Government believes that the Anglo-Turco-Iraqi pact will “provide for greater security for all states in the Middle East, including the State of Israel.” He emphasized that “nothing prohibits us from giving to Israel the same guarantees that are available to Turkey and Iraq.”
“Indeed, nothing under these arrangements in any way alters the position or responsibility or obligations of His Majesty’s Government under the Tripartite Declaration,” Mr. Nutting told the Parliament. “This is what I meant when I said this treaty and these arrangements are in no way incompatible with Israel’s interests and threaten no one–Israel or any other state in the area.”
Herbert Morrison, a member of the late Labor Cabinet, insisted that Parliament could not “exclude consideration of Israel from this debate today,” in view of the growing number of treaties. He also stressed that Israel was being subjected to an economic boycott which was preventing it from getting adequate supplies from abroad. Mr. Morrison quoted Israel Premier Moshe Sharett’s comment that the Turco-Iraqi pact threatened the security of Israel, and commented that Mr. Sharett’s evaluation was “reasonable and fair.”
Asserting that the Laborites were not “altogether happy” about the treaty, Mr. Morrison declared: “We think the government’s position vis-a-vis Israel is by no means satisfactory. We would like to urge that we should be careful that we are not overly one-sided in this matter. We should still go ahead with determined efforts to bring the parties together with the view that this utterly unsatisfactory situation be brought to an end, not merely in the interests of Israel but the interests of the Arabs as well.”