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Britain Criticized in Commons for Surrendering to Arabs at U.N.

June 7, 1956
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Conservative Government came under a barrage of criticism in Commons today for agreeing to delete from the resolution passed by the Security Council Monday language which would have had United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold press for a manually acceptable Arab-Israel peace settlement. Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd replied by insisting that the change was of a minor character and that unanimity within the Council was most important so that further progress might be made toward’s settlement.

The critics were led by Labor Party leader Hugh Gaitskell who insisted that the deletion was of prime significance and who charged that the reason for the elimination of the wording was the opposition of the Arab states backed by the Soviet Union. Labor MP Alfred Robens insisted that the price of unanimity in this case was too high and that it would have been better for the British Government to have stuck to its guns and the United Nations on this question. Another MP asked what further action the government intended to take to help reach a settlement.

Mr. Lloyd instated that the British Government’s position remained that any solution reached had to be mutually acceptable and that the need for unanimity was far greater than insistence on language on which some states had “put a gloss which he did not think the words expressly deserve.” The Foreign Secretary further asserted that “as far as we know the Soviet Government holds the same opinion as Britain–that a mutually acceptable agreement is necessary. Mr. Lloyd concluded by repeating that unanimity was needed for further progress declaring that the resolution was but one step in a chain of events leading toward a settlement.

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