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Falkland Islands

Volume 463: debated on Monday 11 April 1949

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11.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the refusal of the Argentine authorities to recognise the validity of birth certificates issued in the Falkland Islands to British subjects; and what action he proposes to take.

Yes, Sir. The refusal of the Argentine authorities to recognise the validity of documents issued in the Falkland Islands is believed to be based on the Argentine Government's claim to sovereignty over these islands. The Falkland Islands are, and have been for over 100 years, governed by the United Kingdom and the Argentine claim has no foundation. Our position has been made clear to the Argentine Government in numerous diplomatic notes. The action of the Argentine authorities can affect neither the British title to the islands nor the position of the persons concerned as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and it is therefore not proposed to take further diplomatic action.

While thanking the Under-Secretary for that answer, may I ask him whether the decision of the Argentine Federal Court, based on the pretension that the Falklands are Argentine territory, amounts to a declaration that Falkland Islanders are Argentine subjects? Is not that a matter of the greatest possible importance?

It is a declaration which we dispute and in any case it does not affect the British nationality of the persons concerned.