HC Deb 20 September 1948 vol 456 cc10-1W
9. Mr. Gammans

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if Argentinian and Chilean naval parties are still occupying British territory in the Antarctic; and what steps he proposes to take in this matter.

Mr. Mayhew

Argentine and Chilean parties are still occupying posts on British territory in defiance of our protests. As I have explained to the House on previous occasions, it is the policy of His Majesty's Government to refer the question of disputed sovereignty in this region to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. There has, however, been a new development, which is welcomed by His Majesty's Government. The United States Government have made certain proposals aiming at the promotion of scientific investigation and research in Antarctica and an agreed international solution of the problem of conflicting territorial claims on the basis of some form of joint administration by the countries concerned. A communication on this subject was recently addressed by the United States Government to the Governments of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, Norway, Argentina and Chile. The terms of the reply to be made by His Majesty's Government are being carefully considered in consultation with the Commonwealth Governments concerned.