HC Deb 10 March 1937 vol 321 cc1150-1
62. Captain Cunningham-Reid

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, upon what terms the Argentine Government were permitted to erect a meteorological station upon Laurie Island, in the South Orkneys, a dependency of the Falkland Islands; whether this permission either expressly, or by implication, established an admission by the Argentine Government that the Falkland Islands are British possessions or, alternatively, whether he will make a continuance of this permission dependent upon such an admission by the Argentine Government?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The meteorological station in question was established in 1903 by the Scottish Antarctic Expedition under Mr. W. Bruce. In the following year His Majesty's Minister at Buenos Aires communicated to the Argentine Government an offer from Mr. Bruce to place his observatory in the charge of four Argentine scientists. This offer was accepted and since 1904 the Argentine Meteorological Department has maintained the observatory. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative. I would draw attention to the fact that the South Orkneys were only made a dependency of the Falkland Islands in 1908, four years after the above-mentioned offer was accepted. As regards the third part, His Majesty's Government do not think it necessary to impose the condition suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend. They do not regard the Argentine maintenance of the observatory as constituting any claim to sovereignty over either the South Orkneys or the Falkland Islands, both of which His Majesty's Government consider to be British territory.