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Question of Guaranteeing Existing Israel-arab Borders Raised in Commons

Edward Heath, Lord Privy Seal, told the House of Commons today that Britain has not consulted the United States or France about a possible revival of the 1950 Tripartite Declaration on guaranteeing the integrity of the Arab-Israel borders. Mr. Heath also said, in reply to another question, that the British Government had no intention at this time to press for a Middle East arms embargo.

Mr. Heath’s statement was made in answer to a query by Eric Johnson, a Conservative member of Parliament, who asked: “What consultations have taken place with France and the United States, as signatories of the 1950 pact, as a prelude to making a joint declaration to the Government of the United Arab Republic that action will be taken to guarantee the frontiers and preserve the independence of all countries in the Middle “Nast, which are threatened with aggression from without or subversion from within?”

The Lord Privy Seal answered: “None. As regards action to preserve peace and stability in the Middle East, I have nothing to add to a reply given by the Prime Minister on May 14.” At that time, Premier Harold Macmillan had said it would be difficult to foresee the exact nature of any action in the Middle East. Mr. Heath said that President Kennedy “had made a statement on similar lines.”

Mr. Johnson, however, pressed the Government for action. He said: “It might be desirable to get a similar endorsement from France. It would also be desirable to make it clear that we are prepared to act as well as talk in the circumstances envisaged in my question.”

Stephen Swingler, a Laborite, asked Mr. Heath whether he would now propose “to other governments concerned the organization of an embargo on arms supplies to the Middle East as a means of reducing tensions and to prevent an arms race from developing.”

“The Government,” replied Mr. Heath,” will consider with greatest care any practical scheme for peace and stability in the area.” But, he added,” as long as the present tensions existed,” he did not think “the proposal would achieve useful results.”

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