United Nations (Antarctica)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th June 1956.

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Photo of Sir Isaac Pitman Sir Isaac Pitman , Bath 12:00 am, 13th June 1956

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that there is no provision in the United Nations Charter debarring the United Nations from accepting any claims to territory made over to it by any nation and as a general conference of United Nation members is to consider before the end of 1957 the terms of a revised Charter of the United Nations, he will propose to the nations having claims to Antarctica that they should conditionally offer such claims to United Nations and that United Nations should provisionally accept such claims and forthwith seek revision of its Charter to make such acceptances constitutional.

Photo of Sir Isaac Pitman Sir Isaac Pitman , Bath

Would it not be wiser to give some time to this consideration, having regard to the fact that so many weary hours have been given to considering disarmament which have almost led to the conviction that the only solution lies in the development of a supranational power of some kind? Would it not be a good thing to have a pilot plan to consider at any rate a supra-national authority in this important field?

Photo of Mr Anthony Nutting Mr Anthony Nutting , Melton

As I think I have said before, the proposal which my hon. Friend makes for investing in United Nations sovereignty over this area is not in keeping with the principles of the Charter as it stands, nor is there any provision in the Charter for it. As to the Committee to which my hon. Friend refers, it has not yet been convened, and it is only to make recommendations to the twelfth session of the General Assembly, in 1957, about the timing and procedure for a Charter review conference. It is not to take any decision on any matter of substance itself.