§ 12. Sir J. Langford-Holt
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by what means in the past he has asserted 926 the right of free and innocent passage through the Straits of Tiran on behalf of British shipping; and how he proposes to assert this right in the future.
§ Mr. George Brown
The maintenance of the right of free passage through international waterways is primarily a task for the international community as a whole, working through the United Nations. Her Majesty's Government have consistently affirmed this right, and took particular care to ensure that the Security Council Resolution on the Middle East, which we tabled and which was unanimously adopted on 22nd November, explicitly affirmed…the necessity for guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area".
§ Sir J. Langford-Holt
Contrary to what the Foreign Secretary said, is not the task of protecting British shipping primarily the task of Her Majesty's Government?
§ Mr. Brown
I fear that the hon. Gentleman is living in a bygone age. The maintenance of the right of free passage through international waterways is nowadays, and must be, primarily a task for the international community. There are more maritime Powers than we alone and it is for the international community to look after these rights; and that is why we have worked, and will continue to work, through the United Nations.