§ Mr. Cleaver
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is yet in a position to make a statement about the negotiations for an Antarctic treaty.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
I am glad to be able to inform the House that a Treaty about Antarctica was signed in Washington yesterday. In addition to Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, the signatories include the eleven other countries invited by the United States Government to attend the Conference which negotiated the Treaty.
The Treaty embodies the principles outlined in that invitation and previously announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in Canberra last year. These are that there should be freedom of scientific activity in the Antarctic, and that the area should be used only for peaceful purposes. In order to minimise the danger of political disputes in the Antarctic the Treaty also provides, without prejudice to the rights of Her Majesty's Government, for the maintenance of the legal status quo.
I hope that when hon. Members have had an opportunity of studying the text, which will be published as a White Paper as soon as possible, they will agree with me in regarding this Treaty as a valuable example of international co-operation achieved by mutual willingness to compromise.