§ 10.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
I beg to move, in page 3, line 43, at the end, to insert:In Part II the words 'The like inviolability of residence as is accorded to such an envoy,' shall be omitted.This Amendment has been put down in the hope of getting an assurance from the right hon Gentleman. Or the last occasion we were discussing this Measure, he explained the effect of the words,The like inviolability of residence as is accorded to such an envoyas meaning that the police or other state authorities shall not enter the envoy's residence except with the envoy's permission. So far as the particular people 370 who are recommended in the Convention as being persons upon whom the full privileges of a diplomatic envoy should be conferred, are concerned, we have no objection to their securing inviolability of residence, with this effect. But I think we should get an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that no people other than those covered by the specific recommendation in the Convention shall get the full privileges of a diplomatic envoy, shall be given freedom from having their premises searched by the police in the execution of a search warrant granted by a magistrate. I feel sure that the right hon. Gentleman will be prepared to give an assurance of that sort—at least I hope so. Therefore, I do not propose to take up time by further argument.
I am afraid that it would not have been possible for me to have accepted the Amendment if it had been pressed. It would have been inconsistent with Article 19 of the Convention, and therefore, the Bill would not have carried out the Convention. But as this is being made the occasion to ask me to give the assurance for which the hon. and learned Member has asked, I give him the assurance that we shall never try to apply this provision to people other than those to whom the Convention applies with the understanding that Article 19—relating to the Secretary-General and Assistant Secretaries-General—will be held to cover people of corresponding grades in other international organisations, which are not strictly United Nations organisations, but which we have agreed in this Bill to include. For example, it would cover the Director-General of the International Health organisation if he happened to be here—he will not be, but it would include him if he were here.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
With the leave of the House, and in view of the explanation which the right hon. Gentleman has given—as I understand it, the right hon. Gentleman is saying that this particular privilege, a valuable one, it may be, will be very limited in its operation—I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move, in page 4, line 19, after "children,' to insert "under the age of twenty-one."
371 I explained in Committee that this would be the effect of the Bill as it stood, because by practice, immunity for children of envoys is only granted to those under twenty-one. We could not use the words "minor" or "infant," for the reason I have previously explained. This phrase will be satisfactory both to Scottish and English lawyers. Therefore, I hope it may meet the views of hon. Members opposite, and of the House.
§ Mr. C. Williams
I recognise with gratitude that in this Amendment the right hon. Gentleman does go some way to meet the case which was raised earlier in the proceedings, but though fixing the age at 21 may be all right from a technical and legal point of view, I doubt whether it is the right age when we are granting privileges of this kind. I put it from this point of view. A woman of 18 would qualify as a child under this provision, but she might be married, and she might, before she is 21, have two or three children. Is it proposed, in those circumstances, to go on giving this privilege? It seems to me that in the case of a married woman it is rather too wide. The same would apply to a man who might be earning his own living. When you have got to that stage, will the word "children" include grandchildren? I do not know the technical legal position. I have no doubt some of my hon. and learned Friends may be able to tell me.
I do say that, in the circumstances, this provision might have been drawn rather more narrowly, so that it would have been confined to children who were really at the educational stage, and not extend to married people and people who are earning their own living. For that reason, though I dislike and deprecate looking a gift horse in the mouth, I do say, quite frankly, that in this case—and I can see a certain amount of sympathy on the other side of the House for the point I am raising—it would have been better if we had had a lower age. I regret we could not have had some wording other than "under age" which would more nearly approximate to a child in the real meaning of the sense, and would not apply to a man earning his own living. If that had been the effect of the wording many of us would have said "Here is a handsome gift," instead of a not very good one. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman even now, will amend his own Amendment.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
This is another Amendment which owes its existence to the initiative of a vigilant Opposition. On the Second Reading my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Hythe (Brigadier Mackeson) asked the right hon. Gentleman what the word "child" in the Bill meant, and the right hon. Gentleman gave the illuminating reply that it meant "child". The point was subsequently reinforced, and other Members told the right hon. Gentleman that the word "child" in the English statutes has a multiplicity and variety of meanings, and it was desirable to limit and define it. It is reassuring to observe that he has paid some attention to the suggestions which were made to him, and that he has accepted the suggestion and put in this definition, with the result that he has a very much better Bill. Therefore, though I appreciate what has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) that the limitation might well go further, nevertheless, from the point of view of drafting, it is satisfactory that some definition is put into this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman surely is now convinced that on this point, at any rate, the raising of this point was not an attempt of an obstructive Opposition to torpedo this Bill, but the attempt of a vigilant and intelligent Opposition to improve it.
§ Lieut.-Commander Joynson-Hicks
I likewise appreciate the dawning light of recognition of wisdom on the part of the right hon. Gentleman. I venture to think he has chosen a wrong analogy here in adopting for this purpose the age limit which previously was applicable to the children of diplomatic envoys. May I put this point to him? It is by no means improbable that the child or children, either male or female, of one of these high officials who are over here, may be employed by the same organisation, but in a much humbler capacity. One of these senior officials might have a daughter of 18 and a son of 20, who might be allotted to some appointment for the sake of convenience, by some foreign country in the organisation. Thus they would acquire under this Clause the same immunities and privileges which the father enjoyed as a result of the high position which he occupied. That would immediately give rise to two difficulties. First, why should these younger people enjoy immunities and privileges while in 373 this country, which are denied to their colleagues who are doing exactly similar work? Secondly, why should people of sufficient responsibility who can be employed in this capacity, enjoy these additional privileges by virtue of the fact that their parents happen to be in a position high up in the organisation?
Another point I want to raise is that it is likely that the children of these high officials may be of other than European origin. It is well-known that some races and nations of the world develop much more quickly than others. It is therefore possible that we may get a person over here with a large family, all under the age of 21 and all of whom would be, as compared with people of our own race, comparatively adult. I think that this age of 21 is an arbitrary figure, chosen by the right hon. Gentleman without due regard to the possibilities and difficulties which may arise from it. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will look into this again.
§ Mr. Harold Macmillan (Bromley)
I would like to thank the right hon. Gentleman—who, after one momentary relapse, came to the more agreeable mood in which we have dealt with the later stages of this Bill—for moving this Amendment. I must emphasise, since he referred to the Second Reading speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller), that this very point was raised by my hon. and learned Friend but not answered— but that that is quite frequent in Second Reading Debates—or else was answered in a not very expansive way. However, after great search and the application of all the legal talent available to the Government—available though seldom present—it has now been found that there is a synonym for "minor," or if you like "infant"—which the right hon. Gentleman explained would not do. They have now found that a synonym exists in the expression "under 21 years of age." I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on this great discovery, which after all could have been put in at an earlier stage of the Bill, and also on the spirit in which he has met us. There is one further point I would like to raise. I think we are bound to accept the same assurance as that which he was good enough to give on the Amendment moved by my hon. 374 and learned Friend a few minutes ago, that this would apply only to those covered by section 19 of the Convention or to analagous persons; that is to say, only to the high officials mentioned in section 19 or to high officials of similar rank in other organisations. Although the Bill would legally give the right to extend it further, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give us the same assurance, that it will be restricted to that same class.
§ 11.0 p.m.
If I may have the leave of the House to reply, I am obliged for what the right hon. Gentleman has said. Without feeling that I was making a humiliating spectacle of myself, I would have accepted a further Amendment from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) if it had been suitable or appropriate, but the hon. Member nearly convinced me that I had better withdraw this Amendment and go back to the original phrase. The original phrase "chidren" was, of course, to be interpreted as assimilating the privileges granted under this Bill to those granted to diplomatic envoys under international law, and it is perfectly well known that that applies only to children who are not married. His point is covered, because envoys do not have immunity for children who cease to be in their household. They have it only for children who are in their household. I am ready to do what the Opposition desire—to withdraw the Amendment and stick to the original phrase, or to insert the words "under twenty-one."
Of course. I rose to give the assurance the right hon. Gentleman asked for, and I give it now.
§ Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move, in page 4, line 22, to leave out "is," and to insert "are."
This is a drafting Amendment. Unfortunately, in the drafting we made a mistake in grammar and put the word "is" where we ought to have put the word "are."
§ Amendment agreed to.