HC Deb 21 March 1949 vol 463 cc7-8
4. Air-Commodore Harvey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement regarding the payment of pensions to retired employees.of the former British railways in Argentina, now living on pensions in the United Kingdom; and whether an agreement has,been reached in this connection with the Argentine Government.

Mr. Mayhew

Considerable hardship was caused to the pensioners of the former British railways and others living in this country by the action of the Argentine Government some months ago in placing a ban on the remittance of funds abroad. This hardship was somewhat alleviated by a recent decree of the Argentine Central Bank permitting the remittance of sums not exceeding 250 pesos a month. The matter will, however, be pursued further in the context of wider questions of Anglo-Argentine payments on which it is hoped to reach agreement in the course of the current negotiations.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Does the hon. Member realise that these retired men are getting only about half of what they are entitled to, and that the Argentine Government, in addition to having broken their meat contract with us, have broken their contract with these men?

Mr. Mayhew

I appreciate the hardship involved. We do not intend to let things rest where they are now.

Sir Patrick Hannon

Will this point be fully considered by the delegation now in the Argentine?

Mr. Mayhew

Yes, Sir, it has been brought to the notice of the delegation.

Mr. Teeling

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the officials of Buenos Aires tramways and other organisations are now having their contracts broken by the Argentine Government, and that the rest of South America, and this country, too, is beginning to realise that Argentine Government agreements are very little better than scraps of paper?