§ Q15. Mr. Dalyell
asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the latest position in the Falkland Islands.
§ The Prime Minister
We have decided to lift the total exclusion zone of 200 nautical miles around the Falkland Islands, which was established on 30 April. Port Stanley harbour and Port Stanley airfield, together with the three mile territorial sea around the Falklands, nevertheless remain closed to commercial shipping and aircraft until further notice for reasons of safety.
Our warning of 7 May that any Argentine warship or military aircraft found more than 12 miles from the Argentine coast would be regarded as hostile similarly no longer applies.
But British forces continue to have authority to take all necessary measures to protect themselves against attack anywhere in the South Atlantic and to defend the Falkland Islands and the dependencies in accordance with the inherent right of self defence recognised in article 51 of the United Nations Charter. In particular and to minimise the risk of misunderstandings or inadvertent clashes we have asked the Argentine Government, via the Swiss Government, to ensure that their warships and military aircraft do not enter a zone 150 miles around the islands where they would pose a potential threat to our forces. Argentine civil aircraft and shipping have also been requested not to enter this zone unless by prior agreement with the British Government, and also to stay clear of other British dependencies in the South Atlantic.
§ Q4. Mr. Latham
asked the Prime Minister what progress has been made so far with the reconstruction of the Falkland Islands, following the Argentine surrender; and what arrangements are being made for satisfactory accommodation and facilities for the British garrison.
§ The Prime Minister
On rehabilitation, mines and other hazards are being cleared, essential services restored and emergency repairs made. We are sending urgently mobile homes, prefabricated housing, building materials, various fuels and replacement aircraft for the internal air service. Most of the original contract staff have returned and 35 new staff, including medical officers, teachers and police are being provided.
On the British garrison, about 4,000 of the 4,500 troops are accommodated in ships or in buildings. We are very grateful to the islanders for allowing their homes to be used in this way. About 500, who are mainly manning Rapier systems at the airfield, are in tents.
Further accommodation units are being sent: 333 will arrive today—providing accommodation and facilities for about 3,000.
All personnel have a full range of special clothing.