My right hon. and learned Friend has made no recent proposals but, as the Icelandic Government are aware, Her Majesty's Government have throughout been ready to negotiate concerning this dispute. He has also proposed that the issue should be referred to the International Court of Justice, but there has been no response to this suggestion.
§ Mr. Wall
Can my right hon. and gallant Friend say whether an official proposal for a truce over the dispute over fishing limits has been made until the matter can be settled by convening an international conference? Has Iceland given any reason for not taking the dispute to the International Court of Justice?
The answer to the second part of the supplementary question is that Iceland has given no reason for 755 not taking the dispute to the International Court. As far as I am aware, Iceland has not referred to our proposal and there has been no suggestion of a truce.
§ Mr. Younger
Has the matter not become much more urgent since apparently the United Nations has decided not to hold its renewed conference until 1960? Does not that mean that unless something is done about interim arrangements the fishing fleets will have to go through another summer as well as the winter before there is any amelioration?
The United Nations has decided to have a conference in 1960. We would have preferred an earlier conference. We made our position clear. I agree, therefore, that it is all the more urgent that some decision should be taken on this, and, as we have said, we are always ready for negotiations with the Icelandic Government on this subject.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
Does the fact that the conference will not be convened until 1960 mean that the proposal by the Danish Government for an extension to twelve miles of the limit from the Faroes is also in abeyance?
Her Majesty's Government replied on the 4th December, to protest from the Icelandic Government about the "Hackness". We have proposed that there should be further study through the diplomatic channel to establish the facts. According to the information available to Her Majesty's Government, the "Hackness" was not within three miles of the shore as claimed by Iceland and had not transgressed against Icelandic law as regards the stowage of her gear.
§ Mr. Wall
In view of the Communistic propaganda, or rather the use which the Communist Party all over the world has made of this incident, will my right hon. and gallant Friend give as much publicity as possible to the fact that the vessel was not accused of actually fishing inside the Icelandic claimed limit, and was not even fishing at all?
I will certainly do what I can, and I am very glad that my hon. Friend has made that point.