Oral Answers to Questions — Antarctica

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th May 1958.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Rowley Regis and Tipton 12:00 am, 12th May 1958

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to what extent it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to support the recent proposal of President Eisenhower for a 12-Power conference to ensure international co-operation in Antarctica for peaceful purposes.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Her Majesty's Government welcome President Eisenhower's proposal.

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Rowley Regis and Tipton

Can the Foreign Secretary give an assurance that Her Majesty's Government would be in favour of any international organisation which might be established under this treaty being more directly associated with the United Nations? Secondly, would he indicate that, in Her Majesty's Government's view, this region should be open for scientific and other development by all countries, not merely the twelve which are associated with the proposals?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

The principles which we have already accepted are freedom of scientific exploration and what is called the non-militarisation of the area. Those are the principles we have adopted and which, I think, we should seek to pursue. The method best calculated to achieve those results ought to await the conference itself.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Younger Mr Kenneth Younger , Grimsby

Are we to take it from the Foreign Secretary's answer that, in Her Majesty's Government's view, these discussions, at the moment, at any rate, exclude any questions as to sovereignty? Is it not in fact questions of sovereignty which have so far caused the main trouble, and is it not rather doubtful whether even the limited objectives the Foreign Secretary is talking about can be achieved unless something is done about the quarrels over sovereignty?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I think that one might hope to achieve the two principles I have named, leaving the position as to sovereignty frozen. I think that that is one of the matters which will have to be dealt with.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that many of us would welcome a treaty which upheld the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand in their respective Antarctic territories.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

In the action we have taken, we have acted in agreement with the Governments of Australia and New Zealand.