§ 12. Mr. PONSONBY
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it was by his instructions that no official of the Foreign Office was present at the departure from London of the Soviet Chargé d'Affaires last week, and that the usual courtesy extended to retiring diplomatic representatives was neglected?
§ 14. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he received an invitation to the official reception at the Embassy of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics on 7th November last; and why the Foreign Office was not represented on that occasion?
§ 15. Mr. WALLHEAD
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why the Foreign Office was not represented at the Russian official reception at Chesham House on the anniversary of the foundation of the Socialist Republic?
It will be convenient that I should answer these questions together. These questions are all based on a misapprehension of the established practice. It is not the custom for the Secretary of State to be represented at the departure of Ministers or Chargés d'Affaires or at national celebrations at foreign missions to the Court of St. James.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
Has the Government or this country ever been represented at any celebration of the establishment of the independence of the United States of America?
I cannot say without notice, and I am not certain that I could say with notice, whether His Majesty's Government has ever been 346 represented at any celebration of that event in this country, but what I do know is that it is not the practice for the Secretary of State to be represented at any function in this country on a national fete day of any other country.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Is it usual for no representative of the Foreign Office, or no member of the Foreign Office, to attend these anniversaries?
Yes. The right hon. and gallant Member and his friends have really discovered a mare's nest. It is not the practice of the American Embassy to invite us to their national celebrations, or of the Secretary of State or the Foreign Office to be represented. It is not the practice of the French Embassy to invite us to their national fete day or of ourselves to be represented. The practice pursued in relation to the Soviet anniversary is the same practice as has been pursued in regard to all other national anniversaries.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Are we to understand that there were no invitations issued to any persons at the Foreign Office?
No. I did not say that no invitations were issued. I said that it is not our practice to be represented on these occasions. As a matter of fact, we have taken some trouble, both last year and this year, to explain our practice to the Soviet delegation, and if invitations were issued in spite of that, that is not a matter for which I am responsible.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
Is it not the practice, at least in common courtesy, for the Foreign Secretary to be represented at the departure of a Chargé d'Affaires?