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British Premier Evasive in Parliament on His Talk with Ben-gurion

Prime Minister Harold Macmillan today evaded going into details in the House of Commons on his talk with Israel’s Premier David Ben-Gurion who is leaving England tomorrow for Jerusalem. Mr. Ben-Gurion remained resting in Oxford today.

The British Prime Minister limited himself to telling the members of the House of Commons that Mr. Ben-Gurion was spending a few days in England on a private visit. “He called on me, at his request, and we discussed problems of the Middle East and the world, ” Mr. Macmillan stated.

Laborite Dingle Foot demanded to know whether the question of British supply of arms to Israel had been discussed, and whether an assurance of such a supply had been given to Mr. Ben-Gurion in reply. Mr. Macmillan said he stands on the answer to a similar question given in Parliament last week by Joint Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Robert Allan.

Mr. Allan had told the House that it was not in the public interest to disclose whether or not arms requests had been received from foreign governments. He had also added that the Government would not give the assurance that an arms request from Israel would be denied before Commons had had the opportunity of discussing such a request.

” I did observe,” the Premier added, “that, in an interview, Mr. Ben-Gurion said he favored complete disarmament in the Middle East, with mutual inspection, before world disarmament begins. An embargo in the present position, when a great power is sending arms to one country, would be a great injustice. “

When Mr. Foot persisted on eliciting from the Prime Minister a statement on whether he favors an attempt to control arms supplies to the Middle East, Mr. Macmillan answered: “I am in favor of anything we can do to reduce tension there, as part of and perhaps in connection with, world disarmament. “

In another statement to the House, Mr. Macmillan rejected a Labor request that a Royal Commission be named to investigate the record of British, French and Israel Government consultations prior to the Suez campaign of 1956. All these matters, Mr. Macmillan stated, were discussed in Parliament at the time of the Suez campaign, and subsequently. For that reason, he declared, he saw no reason for further inquiry.

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