§ 39. Sir R. THOMAS
asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department what are the various grades of Consular representatives whom this country maintains in foreign cities and towns; what is their total number; how many of them are whole-time officers; and what proportion are of British nationality?
The various grades of Consular officers are Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls and Consular Agents. The total number of these officers is 922, of whom 393 are salaried whole-time officers and 529 are unsalaried; some of the latter, however, devote their whole time to Consular duties. All salaried officers are, of course, British subjects, and of the unsalaried officers 374 are British subjects.
§ Sir R. THOMAS
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in trade circles there is a general complaint that these Consular officers are not giving that support to trade in various foreign towns and cities which other Consular officers, particularly those of Germany, are giving, and will he use his influence with the Government Department concerned in order to see that there is greater efficiency and more sympathy shown British traders in foreign countries?
The hon. Member had a starred question on the Paper yesterday on that very subject, and I was going to answer it to-day. It has now appeared as an unstarred question, 1110 and I have sent him a written reply. I can assure the hon. Member that every effort is made to do what we can to promote our industrial interests.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
Is not the inefficiency of the service due to the fact that the Government are not providing enough money to secure an efficient service?
I do not agree at all with the statement that the Consular Service is inefficient. I think it is very efficient.