HC Deb 21 June 1950 vol 476 cc1267-8
12. Mr. F. Maclean

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the recent Argentine expedition to Deception Island; and whether His Majesty's Government have given the Argentine Government permission to station naval personnel there.

Mr. Younger

Yes, Sir. As regards the second part of the Question, no permission was sought or granted. Two written protests against Argentine trespass on British soil were delivered in March to the Argentine base leader.

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braith-waite

Would the Minister at least assure the House that while this improper occupation continues, no jet fighters or other armaments will be supplied to the Argentine by this country?

Mr. Maclean

Can I ask the Minister whether the expedition is still there?

Captain Ryder

Can the Minister say whether any reply has been received to the protest?

Mr. Younger

I think not.

Mr. Braine

Will the hon. Gentleman tell the House what steps His Majesty's Government are taking to resist this insolent incursion into British territory and, if he is in any doubt as to the matter, would he not consult the history books and see what Lord Palmerston would have done?

Mr. Younger

I do not think that Lord Palmerston is always a model for what should be done in 1950, but I can assure the House that we wish to have this settled in a proper way, by international action. We have already tried, and, I must say, failed, to get a settlement through the International Court because the Argentine is not obliged to accept litigation in the International Court. We hope that other forms of international action may achieve a friendly settlement in the end.

Mr. Maclean

Can I have an answer to my earlier question, when I asked the Minister whether the Argentine personnel in question are still on Deception Island?

Mr. Younger

Yes, I think so.

Mr. Peter Smithers

Is it not the fact that negotiations in this matter, which are properly the concern of the Government, have been made difficult because our relations with the Argentine have become hopelessly embroiled on meat negotiations, which are not the concern of the Government, or should not be so?

Mr. Younger

That is another question.

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