HC Deb 06 April 1960 vol 621 c372
17. Mr. Awbery

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is now in a position to state the decision of the United Nations Committee on the subject of fishing and territorial waters; and what future action he proposes to take.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Robert Allan)

The Law of the Sea Conference at Geneva has not yet arrived at any agreed decisions. Any future action by Her Majesty's Government will be determined by the outcome of the conference.

Mr. Awbery

Will the Minister inform us how the negotiations are going at Geneva and whether our fishery protection vessels have been withdrawn from Icelandic waters?

Mr. Allan

Protection has been withdrawn from Icelandic waters.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Is the proposal now before the conference the American proposal for six miles territorial sea plus six miles fishing rights, with rights reserved for historic reasons, and will my hon. Friend say whether this proposal, in his opinion, is likely to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority?

Mr. Allan

There are four plans before the conference. There is the plan about which my hon. Friend has just told us, the American plan, for six miles territorial sea plus six miles fishing, with traditional rights. There is also the Canadian plan which is a plan simply for six miles territorial sea and fishing. There is the Russian plan which is for twelve miles fishery and territorial sea. There is also the Mexican plan which is for twelve miles territorial sea, and, under certain conditions, a fishery zone up to eighteen miles. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, who is leading the United Kingdom delegation to the conference, has indicated his support for the American plan which we hope will succeed.

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