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Falkland Islands Dependencies

Volume 526: debated on Wednesday 28 April 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement about the present position in the Falkland Islands Dependencies; and how many unauthorised foreign settlements are still there.

At the settlement and whaling station in South Georgia, a number of improvements have been made to buildings and communications. In other parts of the Dependencies, work has continued at the six established scientific bases on an extensive programme of scientific and meteorological work planned by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey. The Royal Research ship "John Biscoe" is just completing her annual relief of these bases. The number of unauthorised foreign settlements is eleven.

Is not it quite intolerable that such a state of affairs should be allowed to continue? May I ask what the Government propose to do about these unauthorised settlements?

My hon. Friend will be aware that steps have been taken and protests have been made in the past to the Governments concerned. As regards any future action in this matter, that is a question which ought to be put to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary.

Surely this cannot be a matter for the Foreign Secretary. This is a case of unauthorised people on British territory. Surely the Colonial Office can do something about it.

We take the necessary action as the occasion arises, as my hon. Friend will remember that we did last year; but any question about diplomatic action is one for my right hon. Friend.

I beg to give notice that, in view of the unsatisfactory answer, I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.