HC Deb 19 February 1951 vol 484 cc888-9
53. Sir John Mellor

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his approval was sought or obtained by the Argentine Government for the proposed visit of a military and scientific expedition, which recently embarked in the Santa Micaela, to the Britisch Antarctic zone; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Younger

No such approval was sought or obtained by the Argentine Government. As has often been stated in this House, His Majesty's Government do not recognise Argentine claims to sovereignty over any part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies, and have on several occasions protested to the Argentine Government through the diplomatic channel about unauthorised incursions into these territories. Local protests have also been delivered as and when the occasion offered.

Sir J. Mellor

What action is the Foreign Office taking to prevent the Argentine Government from acquiring squatters rights in this British possession?

Mr. Younger

We are taking action open to us to maintain our legal claim. We have, as the House has been informed, offered to submit this matter to the International Court; but that offer has not yet been accepted.

Captain Ryder

Was not there an agreement that there would not be a naval demonstration in the Antarctic? What is the difference between a military demonstration carried out on the high seas and a naval demonstration carried out on shore?

Mr. Younger

An answer given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary on 12th February explained the position about the naval operation, which is a rather different matter from this expedition.