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Tuesday, 19 March 1957

Mr CASEY - I have heard these rumours - and the honorable member also has heard them - in a number of places, and in anticipation of a question on this subject I have armed myself with the answer to a similar question given in the House of Lords on 28th November last. I am glad to say, Mr. Speaker, that the broad answer to the question is that the rumour has no truth in it. Perhaps I may supplement that statement by reference to relevant short extracts from the House of Lords " Hansard " which can be quoted without distorting the general context of the reply. Viscount Hailsham, the First Lord of the Admiralty, replying to a similar question, said -

My Lords, the United States 6th Fleet was in the Eastern Mediterranean during the period of operations. According to a courteous message received from Vice-Admiral Brown by our CommanderinChief, Mediterranean, its orders were to protect United States nationals and to evacuate them from the combat area. There were no contacts between the United States 6th Fleet and our landing force . . there was a friendly exchange of personal signals between the two Admirals, as a result of which each force offered the maximum co-operation consistent with the discharge of their respective missions.

The First Lord of the Admiralty concluded -

I wish to emphasize that they-

That is, the messages - were couched in the most courteous terms and in my opinion reflect credit on the good sense and judgment of both Commanders.

I will make the full reply available to the honorable gentleman later. I repeat that there is no truth in the suggestion that the United States Sixth Fleet acted in any way improperly in the Mediterranean.

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