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Britain Asked to Challenge Egypt’s Blockade; Debate in Commons

Egypt has not yet replied to the British note of protest against the shelling of the freighter Anshun at the entrance to the Gulf of Akaba, Foreign Secretary Harold Macmillan told the House of Commons today in reply to questions by Laborites.

The Foreign Secretary revealed that the note, addressed to the Cairo regime July 6, held that the British vessel had the right of “innocent passage ” regardless of the fact that the entrance to the gulf was through Egyptian territorial waters. He said that Britain had demanded that the Egyptian shore batteries be instructed not to fire again against British ships, and that Britain had reserved the right to compensation for damage to the Anshun.

Herbert Morrison, deputy leader of the Labor opposition and former Foreign Secretary, called upon the government to halt arms shipments to Egypt and to challenge the Egyptian blockade. Barnett Janner, Labor, asked whether, if the Egyptian reply were unsatisfactory, the government would not take the case to the United Nations Security Council and would cut off arms shipments to Egypt. Mr. Macmillan suggested that it would be better to see the Egyptian reply before planning further steps.

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