HC Deb 19 February 1958 vol 582 c1202
29. Mr. Reeves

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many countries have officially notified him of their claim to the three-mile limit of territorial waters; and how many have claimed four miles, twelve miles and 200 miles, respectively.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Claims to territorial waters outside the familiar three-mile limit frequently take the form of attempts to enforce in practice some other limit, and official notification to other Governments by coastal States are not necessarily made. Figures in the form requested by the hon. Member are not, therefore, readily available.

The information at present available of claims, however asserted, shows that twenty-eight countries claim three miles, five claim four miles, and eight claim twelve miles. No country claims 200 miles, but five countries have laid claim to exclusive fishing rights up to this limit.

Apart from these claims, one country claims five miles, seventeen, six miles, one eight-and-a-half miles and two, nine miles.

Mr. Reeves

Does the Minister agree that, in view of all these differences, it would be an excellent policy to canalise these issues under the auspices of the United Nations so that we might have world agreement upon problems of this kind?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Under the auspices of the United Nations, the Conference on the Law of the Sea is about to start.