HC Deb 20 June 1951 vol 489 cc490-1
23. Mr. Fitzroy Maclean

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the fact that the strength of the individual groups of Chilean and Argentinian personnel at present in illegal occupation of British territory in the Falkland Islands Dependencies in no case exceeds 12 men, and in most cases is smaller, he will take early administrative measures for the apprehension and removal of these persons as undesirable aliens.

Mr. Dugdale

No, Sir. The attitude of His Majesty's Government on this matter is set out in the reply given to the hon. Member by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State on 23rd April.

Mr. Maclean

But does the right hon. Gentleman really mean to say that the local authorities are just neglecting their ordinary constitutional duties? Is he not facing up to that problem at all?

Mr. Dugdale

My right hon. Friend said on 23rd April that it was the view of His Majesty's Government that the dispute should be settled through the International Court, and that remains our attitude.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would convey to his colleagues that possible weakness in this case may have led to more dangerous and arrogant presumptions elsewhere?

Commander Noble

Is the Minister aware that his predecessor informed me on 10th March. 1948, that there were one policeman and one or two Customs officers available to enforce the immigration regulations of the Dependencies, and that these immigration regulations were available to deal with small bands of people? Could he say why nothing has been done since then?

Hon. Members


Mr. Dugdale

I have nothing to add. The position has been made perfectly clear on a number of occasions.

Brigadier Medlicott

Can the Minister say how long this situation is to be allowed to continue and, furthermore, what action he will take if other countries follow the precedent which has apparently been allowed to be established by those two countries, Argentina and Chile?

Mr. Dugdale

That is hypothetical and not a question I can answer.