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Wednesday, 10 October 1956

Mr CASEY (Minister for External Affairs) - Yes, in the last 24 hours a number of countries have expressed themselves in the Security Council in respect of the Suez matter, and 1 would expect that just about now the Security Council is going into secret session. During yesterday, Australian time, a number of countries expressed themselves on the matter. Iran said, in effect, that the draft resolution - that is, the British-French resolution - deserved support in principle as a possible basis for peaceful negotiation Belgium said, in brief, that Egypt's disregard of the 1951 resolution of the council regarding the blockade against Israel made it clear that the canal should not be left solely under Egyptian control. The seizure of the canal, it said, was a clear violation of the 1888 convention. Nationalist Chinn said that the users of the canal could have some measure and form of participation in its operation without violating Egypt's sovereignty. Peru said that there should be negotiations based on the principles of the United Nations Charter. Dr. Ronald Walker, speaking for Australia, said thai Egypt's repudiation of the Suez Canal concession, without consultation or agreement, was a breach of international law which, if condoned, could lead to the encouragement of further acts of lawlessness, and that Egypt's record in the Security Council was not good - for example. Egypt had disregarded the 1951 and 1954 Security Council resolutions against the Egyptian blockade directed against Israel. He said that the canal was of great importance to Australia, and that Egypt's action in seizing the canal, unless remedied, was likely to have wide repercussions on the international flow of capital to under-developed countries, and might result in a serious setback to the whole process of co-operative world economic development. Dr. Walker ako said that Australia was ready to participate constructively in whatever negotiations might be possible. He said that Australia would, of course, support the draft resolution proposed by the United Kingdom and France. We have not yet received any news of what the representatives of Yugoslavia and the United States of America said yesterday, although presumably they would have stated their views by this time. However, as I informed the House previously, the United States announced its support for the United Kingdom-French draft resolution last week. That is all of a positive nature that I am able to report in respect of developments in the last three or four hours.

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