HC Deb 17 April 1929 vol 227 cc247-8
Mr. RAMSAY MacDONALD (by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that all passengers from Great Britain, India and certain other places are to be refused permission to land at French ports unless they can satisfy the French local medical officers of health that they have been vaccinated within the last two months; and whether he has any statement to make on the subject?


Immediately the new regulations were brought to their notice, His Majesty's Government put themselves in communication with the French Government. I understand that the matter was considered this morning at a meeting of the Council of Ministers. Up to now I have received no official reply to the inquiries which I caused to be made, but the Press this afternoon announce that at their meeting the Council of Ministers decided provisionally to suspend the Order and to arrange for a meeting between the French and English health authorities, so that the two countries can act in common in taking whatever precautions may be deemed necessary. I am informed that meanwhile the Southern Railway have issued a statement to the effect that vaccination certificates are not necessary for travellers to France. I cannot officially confirm this information up to the present, but I hope that the communications that have reached us through the Press are correct.

Major GLYN

Would my right hon. Friend draw the attention of the French authorities to the fact that the sudden imposition of these regulations has caused a considerable loss of money to the travellers and railway companies concerned, and have any steps been taken to give them some compensation for their losses?


Can my right hon. Friend make a reasurring statement that the amount of smallpox in this country should not dissuade any visitor from overseas coming to this country?


One of the communications that we made to the French Government was as to the very restricted character of the smallpox in this country. The period of incubation of the disease from that particular ship is over, and there is no reason to anticipate any further cases. There is nothing in the nature of an epidemic.


Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the representatives of other countries that this is the safest country in the world under any considerations?


Has my right hon. Friend seen a statement to the effect that this country is the last centre of smallpox infection in Europe, and is that statement true or untrue?


It is not necessary for the Foreign Secretary to answer questions about the health of this country. I think I had better leave it at that.