HC Deb 28 January 1948 vol 446 cc982-3
11. Mr. Thomas Reid

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs at what stage the enquiry into the blowing-up of British ships in the Corfu Channel now stands.

13. Mr. Lester Hutchinson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the present position with regard to the dispute with Albania over the Corfu Channel incident.

Mr. McNeil

I would refer my hon. Friends to the statement made by the Prime Minister in the debate on Foreign Affairs on Friday, 23rd January. The preliminary objection by the Albanian Government that the International Court has no jurisdiction in the case is to be heard on 26th February.

Mr. Wilson Harris

Whatever the decision of the International Court, will the Security Council still remain seized of this case, and will it consider it again after the International Court has given its judgment?

Mr. McNeil

I should not like to attempt an answer without notice.

Sir Ronald Ross

Is the right hon. Gentleman considering the situation that will arise if the International Court has not jurisdiction?

Mr. McNeil

It is very hypocritical. We have, of course, been informally considering the matter, but I should not like to anticipate the judgment of the court.

Major Bruce

Are we to understand that the Security Council are inhibited from considering this question during the time the International Court is dealing with the matter?

Mr. McNeil

My recollection is, that although the Security Council have not this under consideration, it might be argued that it has not yet been disposed of, but I am sure that the answer to my hon. and gallant Friend is that the Security Council will not in the meantime intervene in this subject.

Mr. T. Reid

In the case that the International Court has jurisdiction, can Albania procrastinate indefinitely in making her pleadings?

Mr. McNeil

The ability of the law to move slowly is well known, but the regulations of the law are equally well known.