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Oral Answers to Questions — Christmas Island (British Administration)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th April 1957.

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Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West 12:00 am, 16th April 1957

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware of the claim of the United States of America to the ownership of Christmas Island; and what steps he intends to take to clarify this issue before the explosion of the British hydrogen bomb.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

The United States Government claim sovereignty over Christmas Island, which has been under British administration for many years as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony. Her Majesty's Government have informed the United States Government that the action which they are now taking does not in any way prejudice the claims of either Government.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Is it not rather reprehensible that we should be exploding this weapon over territory the ownership of which is in some dispute? If it subsequently turns out that this is American property, will Her Majesty's Government consider giving appropriate compensation to the United States Government?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

In the first place, I do not think that this difficulty is likely to be serious. In the second place, the bomb is not being exploded over that territory.