Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I should like as a matter of privilege to explain at once to the house that, in reviewing the Hansard report of the answer I gave on Friday to a question by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew) with regard to the shipments of arms or equipment from Canada, I found my words were not as precise as they should have been.
I said that "at the present time we are as much concerned about the situation in the Middle East as is any hon. member of the house, and that there will be no shipments pending the debate on the matter in the House of Commons." The whole discussion had arisen, in fact, out of the concern about the situation in the Middle East, and I intended my words about shipments to refer to that area which I had just mentioned, and I believe everyone understood that they did refer to that area.
However, when I saw the transcript, it seemed to me the words about shipments might be misunderstood and perhaps taken to mean there would be no shipments to any country, including our North Atlantic allies, and I therefore inserted after the word "shipments" the words "for that area", and I wanted to take this first opportunity to explain to the house that I had done so to remove any possibility of misinterpretation of the statement elsewhere or even here in parliament.
Subtopic: MR. ST. LAURENT CLARIFICATION OF STATEMENT ON REPORTED EXPORT OF MILITARY EQUIPMENT