Add after paragraph 3 of Article 17 new paragraph 4 reading as follows:
“It is hereby stipulated that, in determining the final disposal of the Italian territorial possessions in Africa, Greek nationals (physical and legal persons) shall be awarded the same rights, privileges and advantages, including the right of coastal navigation enjoyed by the natives and nationals of the most favoured nation as well as the right of free fishing for fish and sponges.
“From the date of the entry into force of the present Treaty until the determination of the final disposal of the Italian territorial possessions in Africa, the free use of the fishing rights for fish and sponges in the territorial waters of Libya shall be guaranteed to Greek nationals.”
Before the war, part of the Greek population was, for economic reasons, forced to emigrate.
Now, since the cessation of hostilities which have caused so much loss in Greece as a result of the destruction of the Greek merchant marine, of the paralysis of her industry, the exhaustion of her natural riches due to a long period of occupation, the unemployment problem is more acute than ever and places the Greek Government before insuperable obstacles.[Page 696]
Taking into account the fact that Greece has no colonies where her excess population can find work, the Greek Delegation considers that it has the right to request the Conference to recognise the rights and privileges mentioned in the proposed text.
As regards fishing (fish and sponges) in North African territorial waters, more especially in Libya and Cyrenaica, this has been since the time of antiquity an item in Greek economy which still shows a deficit.
This ancient right enjoyed by Greek nationals and, more especially, by the inhabitants of the Dodecanese, whose principal pursuit since ancient times, has been sponge fishing, has never been opposed even by the Italian Government.
It is therefore essential that the future treaties, and especially the agreements which will settle the fate of the Italian colonies, should establish right of Greek nationals to fish in territorial waters of the Italian colonies as well as the right to fish for sponges and exploit submarine surfaces on which those are found, free of tax and of burdens of any kind.