§ Mr. W. Yates
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely,in view of the rising of the House for the Christmas Recess tomorrow, and the announcement by our ally the United States, yesterday, to recognise the Republic of the Yemen after the Minister's statement to the House, the urgent need for Her Majesty's Government to reconsider that statement and to make a new decision concerning the recognition of the Government of the Yemen, bearing in mind the British commercial and security interests in South Yemen, Aden and South-West Arabia.In seeking your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, I am asking the House whether it will give leave to consider this as a matter of both urgent and definite public importance, bearing in mind that there is an extra hour for the main debate tonight.
Nothing in the world could have been more definite than the Minister's refusal at that Box yesterday to recognise the new Government of the Yemen.
As to urgency, it can, of course, be argued that the Minister may make a statement later today, or tomorrow morning, or, with your permission, Sir, when he thinks fit; but I have had the good fortune, I must tell the House, of speaking with the Minister concerned, and he 1457 tells me that he will not make a statement today, nor will he seek your permission to make a statement tomorrow. Therefore, that is the position, and I accept it as a fact.
The urgency, I should think, lies in the fact that a complete new set of circumstances has now arisen, because yesterday we were faced with a different set of problems, and the recognition of the Yemen by our great ally the United States is certainly an important matter, because our own Government have been involved very closely in these negotiations themselves. I suggest that these matters are of paramount importance to the House, and cannot be left out of the urgency of the discussion.
The urgency of the matter lies in the fact that the Government of the United States—and the new Yemen Government—have apparently 'obtained authority for the reconfirmation of the Treaty of Sanaa, concluded by our own Government in 1934. That Treaty is an important one, because it regulates the boundaries between the Yemen and the British Protectorates in South-West Arabia.
The United States was also actually in consultation with our own Government, and has obtained what appeared to me to be promises and assurances for the withdrawal of U.A.R. forces, under agreement, from the Yemen. If these statements are true—and I have no doubt they are, because I have confirmed them myself from the proper authorities—I suggest that here we are faced with a matter of urgent public importance namely, the conflict of views between the United States Government and Her Majesty's Government in an area in Which we both have vital interests, substantial interests in oil and in the security of Aden and the Persian Gulf.
I will not detain the House further on this important matter now, but it occurs to me that the Prime Minister is having discussions with the President of the United States. One cannot deny that this matter is both definite and urgent and of public importance, and I therefore submit that perhaps you, Mr. Speaker, may think it one on which you might like to obtain the view of the House.
§ Copy of Motion handed in.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely,in view of the rising of the House for the Christmas Recess tomorrow, and the announcement by our ally the United States, yesterday, to recognise the Republic of the Yemen after the Minister's statement to the House, the urgent need for Her Majesty's Government to reconsider that statement and to make a new decision concerning the recognition of the Government of the Yemen, bearing in mind the British commercial and security interests in South Yemen, Aden and South-West Arabia".I do not think that it is within my power to leave that matter to the House. I do not think that it conics within the Standing Order.
§ Mr. Yates
I do not understand this matter. Standing Order No. 9 puts both you, Mr. Speaker, and the Member concerned into great difficulties if you cannot, as on the last occasion, give some guidance to hon. Members on how this does not come within Standing Order No. 9.
In view of the submissions which I have made, it is definite; indeed, nothing could be more definite that the Minister's statement yesterday, and what we seek to do is to vary or 'halt an executive decision of the Government. If there were another two or three days to go, there would be plenty of time for us to ask the Government to vary an executive decision, but the Government have already made it clear to me that they are disinclined to vary the decision, and, in view of the rising of the House tomorrow, I submit that to move this Motion under Standing Order No. 9 is the only way in which hon. Members can obtain redress from the Government before the House rises.
That is absolutely definite. The definite statement yesterday was "No", and then new circumstances completely altered the situation, and make this a matter which the Government might like to reconsider.
§ Mr. Speaker
If the hon. Gentleman will allow me, there must be some limit to this, because I have the interests of the House as a whole to consider. The first 1459 basis of the Ruling, from which I in no way depart, is that failure to recognise is a continuing matter which has been continuing ever since some time in September. It is a matter, for instance, which the hon. Gentleman could have raised yesterday. The mere fact that the United States Government have recognised since the statement yesterday adds precisely nothing, because yesterday the hon. Gentleman was told that Her Majesty's Government did not regard the expected recognition by the United States as a matter for consideration by them in the sense that they desired to reserve a decision about recognition to themselves. I am not allowed, under the Standing Order, to leave that which is a continuing matter.