HC Deb 07 November 1966 vol 735 cc954-5
6. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what progress has been made towards a treaty for the control of outer space activities and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mrs. Eirene White)

I have every hope that before long agreement may be reached on a draft treaty concerning the exploration and use of outer space including the Moon and other celestial bodies.

The next discussion of the draft treaty will be by the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly later in the present session.

Mr. Marten

Are the Russians still insisting on being granted tracking facilities throughout the whole world? Will the hon. Lady's right hon. Friend raise this matter on his visit to Moscow?

Mrs. White

Discussions are going on on various points in the draft treaty and it would not be helpful to discuss any particular one now.

Mr. Hogg

I hope that the hon. Lady will give us this assurance. Since the traditional concepts of international law on this subject are based on the hypothesis of a flat earth, I hope that the draft treaty will be based upon the Copernican system.

Mrs. White

I think that there is one thing at least which will appeal to hon. Members opposite. That is what has already been agreed by the sub-committee—the provision that celestial bodies in outer space shall not be subject to any claim of sovereignty.