Oral Answers to Questions — Navigable Waters (Oil Pollution).

– in the House of Commons on 24th April 1939.

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Photo of Mr Harry Day Mr Harry Day , Southwark Central

asked the Prime Minister what steps have been taken to submit the Draft Convention of the League of Nations, relating to the pollution of the sea by oil, to Governments of other countries; which Governments have agreed to Article 2 of the Draft Convention which agrees to the establishment of zones in which the discharge of oil is not permitted; and has any agreement been arrived at between His Majesty's Government and the Government of France, and/or other countries, for arranging a zone up to the median line between the two countries?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

As the reply is of considerable length, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Mr Harry Day Mr Harry Day , Southwark Central

Which Governments have not replied to the questions sent to them?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

The hon. Gentleman will find that that is fully indicated in my answer.

Following is the reply:

The Draft Convention was submitted to the Governments concerned by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations in a letter dated 27th November, 1935. As stated in the reply given by my Noble Friend the Member for South Dorset (Viscount Cranborne) to the hon. Member for Brighton (Sir C. Rawson) on 4th March, 1936, the object of Article 2 of the Draft is not to establish zones within which the discharge of oil is permitted, but to establish zones within which it is prohibited. The following Governments have informed the Secretary-General of the League that they accept the principle of Article 2 of the Draft Convention, or that they are prepared to participate in an international conference on the basis of the Draft Convention:—South Africa, United States of America, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, Danzig, Eire, Finland, France, Greece, India, Iraq, Iceland, Japan, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Union of Soviet Socialist Re- publics. The Draft Convention provides that where the coasts of high contracting parties are less than 100 miles apart, a zone up to the median line, in which the discharge of oil is prohibited, may be established without agreement. Agreement is only required where part of a proposed zone lies beyond the median line and within 50 miles of the shore of another high contracting party. No agreements of the kind contemplated under Article 2 of the Draft Convention have been made, and it would be premature to enter on negotiations for the conclusion of such agreements before the conclusion of the Convention itself.