§ 9. Mr. Day
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the number of persons employed in the passport department of the Foreign Office; and whether, for the purpose of obviating the annoyance to the public of carrying passports, he will say what, if any, recent steps have been taken to dispense with the carrying of same, and what negotiations are at present proceeding for the further abolition of visas?
§ Mr. Eden
The number of persons employed in the passport offices varies in accordance with the volume of work at different seasons of the year. The peak period is always in July. The total number of persons employed in the passport office in London and the branch office in Liverpool was 315 on 31st July, 1937. On 12th February, 1938, the number employed was 183. The possession of a passport is necessary to enable a British subject who wishes to travel abroad to comply with the immigration regulations of other countries. It also serves to enable British immigration authorities to distinguish British subjects returning to the United Kingdom. As long as it is necessary to control immigration I do not consider that any change in the existing requirements is practicable. No negotiations are proceeding for the further abolition of visas.