HC Deb 07 December 1955 vol 547 cc373-4
26. Mr. G. R. Howard

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a further statement on the fishery dispute between this country and Iceland.

Mr. Turton

A full report of the meeting of the O.E.E.C. Special Group which took place in Paris on 1st December has now been received. Her Majesty's Government will study carefully the suggestions made by the Swiss Chairman. Meanwhile, I can reaffirm the willingness of Her Majesty's Government to discuss with the Icelandic Government these or any other proposals for a settlement which give due weight to the interests of both countries.

Mr. Howard

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him to pass on to the Swiss chairman and others concerned in the dispute the need for urgency—I am sure the Government have already done so—in clearing up this regrettable dispute, which has been going on for a very long time? Let us hope that the Icelandic people will join with us in trying to find a solution.

Mr. Turton

Her Majesty's Government are well aware of the need for urgency in this matter. At present the Icelandic Government have not yet expressed their attitude to M. Bauer's proposal.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Is it not a fact that Her Majesty's Government have shown no sense of urgency in this matter, which has been dragging on for far too long? Will Her Majesty's Government take steps to summon a high-level conference on this vital subject with a view to resolving the outstanding differences?

Mr. Turton

The hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen. North (Mr. Hector Hughes) is mistaken. It would be a great mistake to disparage the valuable work done by O.E.E.C. in this matter.