HC Deb 25 July 1973 vol 860 cc1599-600
12. Mr. Reed

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will recognise the right of ships flying the French tricolor to exclude ships flying the White Ensign from any part of the high seas beyond the 12-mile territorial limit.

Mr. Amery

There are at present no British warships in the area. The question therefore does not arise.

Mr. Reed

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the mere assertion by the French of national jurisdiction on the high seas is contrary to the Geneva Convention on this subject and therefore detrimental to British interests? Will he consider summoning the French Ambassador and reminding him that the preservation of the rule of law is just as important as the possession of nuclear weapons in keeping the world free of aggression and conflict?

Mr. Amery

As I told my hon. Friend in a Written Answer on 12th July, The question whether the exclusion of shipping from an area of the high seas is lawful or not is one of the issues before the International Court of Justice in the current proceedings brought by Australia and by New Zealand against France."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th July, 1973; Vol. 859, c. 410.]

Mr. Dalyell

Why has the voice of Britain been silent in support of Australia, Canada and New Zealand in protesting against the French tests?

Mr. Amery

The matter is not one about which we are called upon to express a view beyond a reiteration of the view, several times repeated, that we hope that France will sign the partial test ban treaty.

Back to