HC Deb 04 July 1960 vol 626 c31
Mr. Crosland (by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what protest he has made to the Icelandic Government about the recent action of an Icelandic Catalina aircraft in "dive-bombing" the British trawler "Grimsby Town" and firing incendiary flares at the crew as they were fishing.

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

This incident was not reported to any of Her Majesty's ships in the area, but on the basis of the information available our Ambassador is being instructed to raise the matter immediately with the Icelandic authorities.

Mr. Crosland

While thanking the Joint Under-Secretary of State for that reply, may I ask him to bear in mind that this is only one of three recent incidents affecting distant water trawlers, and that it comes at a particularly unfortunate time, when the tension has been slightly relaxed? Will he urgently represent to the Icelandic Government that the cessation of incidents of this kind is an absolutely necessary condition for any long-term settlement between ourselves and Iceland?

Mr. Allan

Yes, Sir. I think that the Government very much support those views.

Mr. Wall

Will my hon. Friend also bear in mind that the uncertainty which exists in that situation off the Icelandic coast also encourages this form of incident, that our trawlers have been withdrawn for three months voluntarily, that that period is nearly ended, and that a decision is required for the future very urgently?

Mr. Allan

As has been repeatedly said, we are only too anxious to try to negotiate a settlement with the Icelandic authorities.