HC Deb 20 June 1956 vol 554 cc1399-400
1. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the present position of the talks in which Her Majesty's Government recently engaged under the auspices of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation on the subject of the Icelandic fisheries dispute; which talks were treated as private although they affect the British fishing industry and consumers; and if he will now inform the House of their scope, purpose and result.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

The discussions are in suspense at present because Iceland has a caretaker Government until after the elections on 24th June. I earnestly hope that with the co-operation of the new Icelandic Government we shall be able to settle this unfortunate dispute without further delay.

Mr. Hughes

While thanking the Secretary of State for the hope expressed at the end of his Answer, may I ask him whether he does not agree that the relevant problems are of great public importance; that these talks should not be conducted in a hole-and-corner way, and that industry and consumers generally should be aware of what is being discussed?

Mr. Lloyd

I think the right thing to do is to conduct the talks in such a way as to try to get results. The negotiations were going well, I think, until the caretaker Government was formed, which enforced a compulsory halt in the negotiations, but we intend to press on with them as quickly as we can afterwards.

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