HC Deb 23 October 1972 vol 843 cc765-7
13. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on European and other international action against hijacking and terrorism.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Joseph Godber)

We are actively discussing in the International Civil Aviation Organisation—ICAO—a convention on sanctions against States which fail to deal adequately with hijackers and similar criminals within their jurisdiction.

My right hon. Friend discussed terrorism with his European colleagues in Rome last month.

At the United Nations, where an item on terrorism has been inscribed on the agenda, we will play a full and active part in discussion on measures which would contribute to effective collective international action against terrorism, no matter from what source it arises.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

As surrender to blackmail only invites more, will Her Majesty's Government seek to sustain our Turkish allies and get the support of other Government in doing that in their present agonising decision?

Mr. Godber

I greatly deplore the action of those who have posed this question to the Turkish Government. I do not think there is anything that we can usefully do with regard to it. We must seek to get international agreement so that those who indulge in these outrages shall know that there is no safe haven for them anywhere in the world. This is the purpose of the discussions that we are having, and this is what I hope we shall help to bring to a conclusion.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

My right hon. Friend says that the matter is being actively pursued at the ICAO convention. Is it not over a month since the proposals of the four countries were tabled there? Cannot my right hon. Friend say with more precision what results have flowed from that consideration in the very urgent state of this matter?

Mr. Godber

My right hon. and learned Friend has a later Question on the Order Paper on this specific point and I propose to answer it. At this stage I say only that it is our desire to hurry things up. The proposals were those of a sub-committee, and these have to be endorsed by the full body.

36. Sir D. Walker-Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Common. wealth Affairs what is the present position as to the consideration by the Convention of the International Civil Aviation Organisation of the joint proposals from Great Britain, the United States of America, Canada and the Netherlands in regard to the control of hijacking and other act of terrorism and sabotage in respect of aircraft.

Mr. Godber

The Legal Sub-Committee of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which met in Washington last month, has now reported to the International Civil Aviation Organisation Council. We are pressing for the immediate circulation of the report to member States, and for the convening as a matter of urgency of a meeting at which all member States may consider it with a view to concluding an international agreement.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

As our representative found it necessary to block the initial proposals of the United States and Canada, does not there now perhaps rest on us a special duty to see that these new joint proposals are implemented as soon as possible, and does my right hon. Friend think that speedy progress can be made towards a practical and successful outcome?

Mr. Godber

Our desire is to have a fully effective agreement as soon as possible. We support, with the amendments which we proposed and which have been accepted, the proposals which came originally from the United States. We want to make them fully effective and we believe that our amendements work towards that end. As I indicated in my original answer, we are pressing for an early meeting. What we want is full support for these revised proposals.

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