HC Deb 03 February 1947 vol 432 cc275-6W
15. Mr. T. Reid

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he has considered the official statements made in the U.S.S.R. to the effect that the Treaty of 1920 demilitarising Spitzbergen is no longer binding because, inter alia, the U.S.S.R. did not adhere to that treaty till 1925; and what action he proposes to take to uphold this treaty.

Mr. Mayhew

I am not aware of any official statement on the part of the Soviet Government regarding the Treaty of 1920. My attention has, however, been drawn to a broadcast from Moscow on 14th January in which the view of authoritative Soviet circles is stated to be that this Treaty was signed without knowledge of the Soviet Union and without its participation, and that since, among the Powers which signed it, there were States which fought against the Allied Powers, it could not remain valid. In the view of His Majesty's Government the fact that ex-enemy States were among the signatories does not affect the validity of the Treaty, to which the Soviet Union formally acceded in 1935.

As regards the second part of the Question, the Soviet Government have not approached His Majesty's Government regarding their desire for a revision of the Treaty. Such a revision would require the consent of the signatories, with the exception of Japan.