British officials said on Monday (19 January) that they are puzzled by the timing of Iceland's announcement about a possible break in their diplomatic relations.
READER TO CAMERA
SCU Callaghan speaks.
CU Icelandic Ambassador.
CU Ambassador speaks.
"Mr. Wilson and I talked about this in Copenhagen before we had any word of an ultimatum. It would be true to say that as a much bigger power than Iceland, we were able to take a decision out of a feeling of greater self-confidence and we took our decision despite their ultimatum rather than because of it".
REPORTER: "Did it disconcert you that the ultimatum should land in the middle of you discussions with Dr. Luns?"
CALLAGHAN: "I think it disconcerted Dr. Luns. Dr. Luns was more put out than I have seen him for a very long time. He thought that he had got the Icelandic government along a certain line, then he suddenly found them delivering ultimatums in their middle of it."
ICELANDIC AMBASSADOR: "We have never given any sort of assurance that they will not be harassed."
REPORTER: "But there is not agreement that they should withdraw from the fifty mile limit".
AMBASSADOR: "I think that they will do that automatically, once the Navy is out. They cannot really expect to fish inside our limits without being harassed. Of course, we have sympathy I would say with the crews.... very great sympathy....and that is why we are offering the British this 65-thousand tons of cod because we want some agreement with the British."
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Background: British officials said on Monday (19 January) that they are puzzled by the timing of Iceland's announcement about a possible break in their diplomatic relations.
They said they were surprised that the announcement came just before British Foreign Secretary James Callaghan was due to discuss the Anglo-Icelandic Fisheries dispute with NATO Secretary-General Joseph Luns.
The Icelandic government had told Britain that it would break off diplomatic relations unless British warships and reconnaissance aircraft were withdrawn from its unilaterally declared 200-mile fishing zone by midnight on January 24th.
(This film is serviced with statements by the British Foreign Secretary and the Icelandic Ambassador to Britain. Transcripts appear overleaf.)
SYNOPSIS: The Icelandic government has told Britain that it would break off diplomatic relations unless British warships and reconnaissance aircraft were withdrawn from its unilaterally declared 200-mile fishing zone by midnight on January 24. According to British Foreign Secretary James Callaghan, Britain was puzzled by the timing of the announcement....but not surprised.
The Icelandic Ambassador to Britain was then asked about a possible end of the harassing of British trawlers.