HC Deb 21 July 1958 vol 592 c18
27. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement about the conference on territorial limits for fishing waters held at The Hague on Monday, 14th July, at which Britain and nine West European countries were represented.

Mr. Ian Harvey

This was a conference of fishing industries and not of Governments. I understand that it was suggested by the industry of the Federal Republic of Germany and was attended by representatives of the industries of six other Western European countries. A resolution concerning unilateral action by Iceland was passed which has been transmitted to Her Majesty's Government and is being studied.

Mr. Hughes

In view of the fact that all the nations represented at that conference rejected unanimously Iceland's claim to a 12-mile limit and advised British trawlers to fish within it, will the hon. Gentleman say what protection British trawlers fishing within the 12-mile limit will have? In the event of any of these trawlers being evicted by Icelandic gunboats, what law will apply? Will it be Icelandic law? What protection will British trawlers have?

Mr. Harvey

The hon. and learned Member has gone rather wide of his original Question, but I would point out, as we have indicated before, that we are anxious to solve this problem by negotiation and not to do anything at this stage which would prejudice the success of such negotiation.