House of Commons Will Hold Debate on Issue of Sale of Chieftain Tanks to Libya

The House of Commons will hold a three hour “emergency debate” tomorrow on the issue of the sale of British Chieftain tanks to Libya, Some members were angered today at the absence of Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart. Two MPs. Laborite Emanuel Shinwell and Conservative Reginald Paget, wanted to question him on reports that the Government has refused to sell Chieftain tanks to Israel while supplying them to an Arab country.

In another development in the House today, the Government was urged to protest formally to the Soviet Union over restrictive measures taken against Russian Jews who wish to emigrate to Israel. Goronwy Roberts, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, said a formal protest would not be helpful but that the Government is “doing all we can formally.”

Mr. Roberts said the Government was aware of the deeply held feelings on the matter by many people, both inside Commons and outside. Mr. Shinwell said that in view of the treatment of the Soviet Jews by their Government, it was “incongruous and invidious” that the Soviet Union should be represented at the Four Power conference on the Middle East.

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