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British Prime Minister Reiterates Government Opposition to Arab Blacklisting Tactics

Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home declared in the House of Commons today that he was “satisfied” that the Government could give to the 49 British firms blacklisted last week by Jordan and Syria “all the help that they need.”

The Premier made the statement in reply to a question from Arthur Henderson, Labor MP, who had asked what steps the Premier was taking to coordinate the activities of the various Government departments affected by the blacklisting.

He said he agreed that the blacklisting actions were inconsistent with the principles of the United Nations Charter and deplorable, adding: “I have deplored many times here and in the House of Lords mixing up politics with economic relations.”

In a related development, Arthur Lewis, another Labor deputy, asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development what official discussions he had recently about the introduction of “racial discrimination” into normal trade in Britain and to what extent these discussions included the question of political discrimination.

Edward Ducann, the Minister of State, said in a written reply that “it has been made clear through the ambassadors of certain countries concerned” that the British Government “strongly resents any attempt to exert pressure on British companies for political reasons.” He added that he had “no evidence in this connection of pressure for racial reasons.”

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