HC Deb 06 July 1931 vol 254 cc1705-7
29. Mr. ALBERY

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the cost per day per head of the British delegates and deputy delegates to the Assembly of the League of Nations at Geneva in 1930?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) what is the estimated cost this year of the British delegation to the Assembly of the League of Nations; and how this compares with the expenditure incurred last year;

(2) what is the number of deputy-delegates to the Assembly of the League of Nations this year as compared with 1928; and what is the reason for the increase;

(3) the cause of the increase of the expenses of the British delegation to the Assembly of the League of Nations from £4,210 in 1929 to £5,177 in 1930, seeing that the number of delegates was the same in each case?


The average cost of accommodation amounted to £3 4s. a day for each delegate, and the daily allowance for subsistence was 30 Swiss francs, or £1 4s. The latter allowance has not been varied for a number of years. The increase in the cost of the delegation in 1930, as compared with 1929, was due partly to the fact that additional advisers were required, mainly in connection with questions relating to Palestine, and to the increased cost of hospitality to Dominions and foreign representatives, A further increase of £240 was due to the experimental hire of British motor cars from this country for the use of the delegation, instead of the former practice of hiring Swiss cars in Geneva. It is proposed to repeat the experiment this year, but at a cost which it is anticipated will be less by £170 than last year. It has not yet been possible to complete the estimate of the cost of the British delegation in September next, but it is anticipated that the reduction in the charge for the hire of motor cars, and in other respects, will result in a saving, as compared with the cost in 1930, of at least £500. As the House has already been informed, the number of deputy delegates this year will be the same as in 1929 and 1930, namely, four, as compared with two in 1928. In the opinion of His Majesty's Government this is the minimum number required to deal efficiently with the large and growing volume of work transacted during the Assembly.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman what he means by the phrase "the experimental hire of British motor cars," and by the statement that he proposes to repeat the experiment? Is it an experiment to ride in a British car?


Yes, it is an actual experiment for our delegation to ride in British cars in Geneva.


In view of the greatly increased expenditure of this delegation, may I ask whether it is just a coincidence that so many of the deputy-delegates are Labour Members of Parliament?


It is more than a coincidence; it is done purposely, because we believe it will add to the efficiency of the work.


Were British cars used by delegates from this country prior to the right hon. Gentleman's going as a delegate?


British motor cars had never been used until the experiment was tried last year, and we thought it would appeal to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that we should be in the same position as the French, Ger- mans and others, of having our delegates running about Geneva in British cars.


Was the number of Swiss cars exactly the same as the number of British cars?