British Government Disavows Responsibility for Oil Stoppage to Israel

Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Selwyn Lloyd, disavowed in Parliament today any responsibility for the decision of Shell Oil and British Petroleum to sell their marketing interests in Israel. Replying to a question posed by Laborite D. Healey, the Foreign Secretary said the British Government “had no prior knowledge whatever of the recent announced decision.”

He insisted, that despite the fact that the British Government held a majority of the shares in Shell Oil, it followed a policy established in 1914 when the government acquired a majority interest in what was then the Anglo-Persian Oil Company of not interfering in commercial decisions by the company. “It is not government policy to restrict the operations of British oil companies in any country, ” Mr. Lloyd added.

In response to a query by E. W. Short, Labor MP, on what considerations govern Britain’s supply of arms to Israel in view of the changing situation in the Middle East, Mr. Lloyd said: “The main consideration governing the supply of arms to Israel and her neighbors is the government’s desire to promote and maintain peace and stability in the area and avoid an arms race.”

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