HC Deb 20 April 1953 vol 514 cc637-8
33. Mr. Dodds

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether a reply has yet been received from the Icelandic Government to the proposals made by Her Majesty's Government designed to arrive at a settlement of the fisheries dispute; and what progress has been made in this respect.

Mr. Nutting

No, Sir. Her Majesty's Minister at Reykjavik has been instructed to press for a reply.

Mr. Dodds

Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that it is now nearly nine months since he asked me not to press this particular point? If Her Majesty's Government are really serious about this, can we see evidence of a little more enthusiasm than has been shown in the past nine months?

Mr. Nutting

As the hon. Gentleman knows—and if he does not know he will find out if he looks up my answers—we have made one proposal after another for the settlement of this dispute, and each proposal has been turned down by the Icelandic Government. I made a proposal on 20th January to the Icelandic Minister, but so far we have not received a reply. It does not lie within my power to force the Icelandic Government to give us an early answer.

Air Commodore Harvey

In the meantime, will my hon. Friend point out to the Icelandic Government that a great many British vessels are being laid up owing to successive German and Danish landings at British ports?

Mr. Nutting

I should like notice of that, but all relevant considerations have already been brought to the notice of the authorities.

Mrs. Braddock

In view of the increased landings from British trawlers from Icelandic waters in January and February this year—which makes utter nonsense of the statements made by the British Trawler Owners' Association— will the hon. Gentleman look at this matter again to see whether he can discover what is the true reason for this dispute continuing the length of time it has?

Mr. Nutting

As the hon. Lady knows, we have made a proposal to the Icelandic Government for a settlement of the dispute. Until we receive the Icelandic Government's answer we cannot take any further initiative.