1. Mr. Astor
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that a standard British spelling of Arabic names was adopted in the Middle East; that several different systems of spelling Arabic names are used by his and other Departments at home; and whether he will consider adopting the system used in the Middle East as the standard spelling to be used in London.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)
I am unaware that a standard British spelling of Arabic names, either personal or geographical, has been adopted by British authorities generally throughout the Middle East. Past efforts to adopt a standard system of transliteration have failed for a number of reasons, but principally because pronunciation differs in the various Arabic-speaking countries themselves. I am afraid that any renewed attempt at the present time to adopt a standard system could not but result in confusion.
Is not my right hon. Friend aware that in General Wavell's time, in order to avoid confusion in map-reading and so forth, a standard Arabic spelling was laid down for the whole of the Middle Eastern Command and that it was universally accepted and was a great success; and will he, therefore, look into the matter further?
§ Mr. Austin Hopkinson
Is it not quite impossible to reconcile Algerian and Libyan Arabic with Egyptian Arabic?