HC Deb 27 April 1932 vol 265 cc351-2

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affaire whether, in order to reduce expenditure, he will take steps to convert some of the posts now held by Consul-Generals into Consulates, and, similarly, certain Consulates into Vice-Consulates, temporarily if not permanently?

Mr. JOHN COLVILLE (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

Rigid economy is constantly observed in the administration of the Consular Services and the status of posts throughout the world in relation to their importance and the nature of the duties to fee performed is continually under review. Reductions in status cannot, however, be made arbitrarily without impairing the efficiency of the Service. Compulsory cuts have been made in the emoluments of all Senior Consular Officers, and a large number have voluntarily offered to forego portions of their allowances. I welcome this opportunity of expressing my appreciation of the admirable spirit displayed throughout the Service in furthering the cause of national economy.

7. Sir C. CAYZER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what would be the aggregate total savings if the Embassies at Warsaw and Lisbon were reconstituted as Legations when the posts next fall vacant?


The total increased cost of the creation of Embassies at Warsaw and Lisbon together was £2,050. In view, however, of reductions that have recently been made in emoluments—which reductions at these two posts alone total over £1,000—the saving resulting from a reversion to the previous status of these posts would now be considerably less than the original extra cost.


Does the hon. Gentleman consider that the volume of diplomatic business passing between these two countries requires the expenditure entailed by having these Embassies?


It is all a question of proportion. We have already saved £1,000 on these two posts and, even by reducing them to a lower status, which we could only do by agreement of the countries concerned, we should certainly not save more than another £l,000, probably considerably less.