HC Deb 30 January 1956 vol 548 cc585-6
13. Lady Tweedsmuir

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the negotiations concerning the Icelandic fishing dispute.

Lord John Hope

The special group which was set up by the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation to examine the Icelandic fisheries dispute met again from 24th to 26th January in Paris. Progress has been made and specific proposals for a settlement are being examined by Her Majesty's Government and the Icelandic Government.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Is it a fact that agreement has been reached upon a four-mile limit round Iceland? lf so, what effect does my hon. Friend think that this will have upon negotiations with the Danish Government concerning a three-mile limit round the Faroes?

Lord John Hope

I am afraid that the terms of this proposal are still confidential, and those who are concerned are very anxious that they should not be revealed at this moment. Therefore, I do not think that I can go into the possible consequences of those terms.

Mr. Younger

In view of the fact that very considerable interests in our fishing ports are involved, can the hon. Gentleman give us any indication how these negotiations are expected to proceed? Is the group meeting again this week, for instance? Is it likely that there will be some kind of disclosure of the terms within a week or two, or is it expected to drag on for a long time?

Lord John Hope

I do not think that it will drag on for a long time. I hope not. No specific date has been fixed for the next meeting, but there will be one.