HC Deb 20 September 1948 vol 456 cc12-3W
Sir W. Smithers

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the latest position in regard to the rights of navigation on the Danube.

Mr. Mayhew

His Majesty's Government had hoped that a revised Convention would be negotiated at the Danube Conference last month, which would safeguard the rights of all users of the Danube. However, the Soviet Delegation refused to allow any serious discussion of the new Convention which they tabled and which only representatives of Communist Governments were prepared to sign. The British Delegation, together with the United States and French Delegations, refused to sign the new draft Convention because, in their view, it would not protect foreign shipping against discrimination and is obviously designed to legalize the exclusion of non-riparian shipping from the Danube. Since the Conference failed to agree on a new Convention, His Majesty's Government consider that the 1921 Danube Convention is still valid and have reserved their rights under it. In practice, British and other Western shipping has been virtually excluded from the Danube ever since the war, just as all other local British interests are being undermined in Soviet orbit countries.

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