HC Deb 18 February 1948 vol 447 cc1148-9
34. Mr. William Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what means of communication he has with the U.K. Consul-General in Korea; how this officer is kept informed of Press or Parliamentary references to Korea; and how long this takes to reach him.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Ernest Bevin)

Communications with His Majesty's Consul-General at Seoul is maintained by telegraph and by the Foreign Office bag. He is kept informed of relevant Press references and extracts from Parliamentary proceedings either by telegraph or by bag, as the need may be. Communication by bag takes a minimum period of 14 days, but varies according to circumstances.

Mr. Teeling

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that communication by bag very often takes considerably longer. Does he realise how much the Consul-General there feels cut off, because he has no wireless communication with Tokio or any other of our Embassies, and has to rely on the United States Army telegraph? If there was a crisis in that part of the world—as there might well be—the U.S. Army would not have time in which to allow him to get through. Could the right hon. Gentleman make arrangements for the Consul-General to have direct contact with Tokio?

Mr. Bevin

I will communicate with him, and ask him why he has not put this to me before, as a servant of the Foreign Office. I do not think that he ought to have waited for someone to put a Question.