LONDON (Jun. 15)
Nasser’s threats to Israel and the danger to Israel’s security by Soviet shipments of arms to Egypt was viewed with concern by members of both the Labor and Conservative parties in Parliament here today who questioned Foreign Secretary R.A Butler on British policy in the area.
Asserting that the Government continued to attach the greatest importance to the maintenance of peace and stability in the Middle East, Mr. Butter said that the Government was guided by these objectives in any decisions it took. While Britain wished to avoid an arms race in the Middle East, Mr. Butler declared, “we cannot stop shipments to Egypt much as we might dislike them.”
Replying to a proposal by Labor member Patrick Gordon Walker that Britain seek the cooperation of the major powers in securing an arms balance in the area, Mr. Butler said that he “would not exclude the possibility of talks with the Soviet Union on this subject.”
Noting that Britain was keeping in close touch with its allies on questions pertaining to stability in the Middle East, the Foreign Secretary said, however, that he regarded the United Nations as being primarily responsible for the maintenance of peace in the region and if there was any threat to peace in the area, the Government would consult the United Nations and take whatever action they thought was needed.
Conservative MP Eric Johnson said that the Egyptian Government should be made aware that aggression would have more serious repercussions than a resolution before the Security Council which could be vetoed. Labor Member Sidney Silverman charged in the Commons debate that Egypt was being re-armed by the Soviet Union and was preparing for war against Israel while other Arab states were also being re-armed by Britain.