HL Deb 07 February 1979 vol 398 cc816-7WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they consider the Soviet Union to have been observing the conditions laid down in the Treaty of Paris regarding

  1. (a) Norwegian sovereignty in the Svalbard Archipelago, and
  2. (b) the demilitarised status of the archipelago, particularly in view of the crash of the Soviet bomber on one of the islands, the presence in its waters of a large, heavily armed Soviet warship, the establishment on another island of a helicopter base, and the presence of Soviet military personnel at the airbase.


It is known to all the signatories of the Treaty of Paris that the Norwegian Government exercises sovereignty in full accordance with the provisions of the treaty and is concerned to ensure that its sovereignty is respected by all the signatories, including of course the Soviet Union.

The crash of a Soviet aircraft on Hope Island in the Svalbard Archipelago on 28th August 1978 was obviously an accident and not a deliberate act, and Her Majesty's Government understand that the subsequent presence of a Soviet warship was related to that crash and received Norwegian agreement. Her Majesty's Government also understand that the Soviet helicopter base on Svalbard is a civilian establishment manned by civilian personnel. Her Majesty's Government will continue to watch events in Svalbard with close attention.