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Deception Island

Volume 476: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether Deception Island is at present under British or Argentine occupation.

There are at present both British and Argentine parties established on Deception Island. The British post, which operates a meteorological station, has been continuously occupied since 1943. The Argentine post was set up in 1947 and has remained there despite protests delivered both through diplomatic channels and locally.

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to secure the immediate withdrawal of the Argentinians from British territory?

The Government have made it clear that they will accept the judgment of the International Court of Justice on the question of the title to Deception Island.

Does that mean there is doubt in the mind of the Government as to whether the Falkland Island Dependancies are a British possession or not?

No, Sir. The point is that we, in company with many other nations, agree to abide by the decisions of the International Court of Justice, and we are willing that it should be submitted to the court. I would add that these questions are rapidly getting into Foreign Office territory and generally speaking, are matters for the Foreign Office.

Is it not a fact that the Argentine Government are not bound to accept litigation in the International Court of Justice? Therefore, does not the whole thing fall to the ground?