I see no prospect that representations to the Danish authorities would bring about a settlement of the present dispute between the two fishing industries. The Danish and Faroese authorities have repeatedly made it clear that they are not prepared to concede any fishing rights within their 12-mile zone.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that within the last week a meeting has taken place between representatives of the Faroese and British fishing industries with very beneficial results? Is he further aware that as from today British fishing vessels are not to be allowed to carry out repairs in Faroese ports? How can this problem ever be solved unless there are direct Government-to-Government negotiations?
I am aware of the Press reports to which the hon. Gentleman refers. We have asked our Chargé d'Affaires in Copenhagen for a report. Until that is received, I cannot say what action, if any, Her Majesty's Government will take in the matter.
Does my hon. Friend agree that the failure of earlier conferences to resolve the differences between British fishing fleets, particularly Scottish fishing fleets, and those mentioned in the Question make it urgently necessary for the Government to make another attempt to try to summon a thoroughly representative international conference to deal with the relevant problems? Will the Government take steps in that direction?
In view of the long and tangled history of this problem, I do not believe that a British initiative at this moment on the lines suggested by my hon. and learned Friend would be useful.