HC Deb 23 March 1964 vol 692 cc7-8
8. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will state the nature of the conversations which Her Majesty's Government had with the Danish Government after that Government unilaterally enforced on 11th March, 1964, a 12-mile fishing limit on the sea area of the Faroes; what has resulted from them; and what is the position at present.

Mr. P. Thomas

Her Majesty's Government have not held conversations with the Danish Government since 11th March. The discussions mentioned by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary on 9th March, in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall), had already been concluded by that date. They concerned the practical measures necessary to minimise the risk of unpleasant incidents. The present position is that since the enforcement of the limit there have been no incidents involving British trawlers.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Minister not realise that that announcement is a very evasive one and is playing with dates? Does he realise that this matter is very important to the British and particularly the Scottish fishing industry, and that unilateral action by the Danish Government is very wrong in international comity? Will he take steps to see that the British Government act just as firmly in the interests of the British fishing industry as the Danish Government do in relation to their industry and see that the traditional fishing rights of the British fishing industry are preserved?

Mr. Thomas

I am sorry if the hon. and learned Member thought that I was being evasive; I certainly did not intend to be. I certainly agree that this is an important matter for the Scottish fishing industry. With regard to our attitude towards this unilateral act on the part of the Danish Government, I do not think I can add anything to what was said by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State on 9th March.