HC Deb 05 April 1950 vol 473 cc1169-70
12. Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why British nationals employed on the Argentine Railways are not allowed to send remittances to their dependants in this country, contrary to the agreement reached with the Argentine when the railway was handed over; and what was the average annual value of such remittances prior to their prohibition by the Argentine Government.

Mr. Younger

The Agreement of Sale concluded on 13th February, 1947, between Sir Montague Eddy, representing the British-owned railways and the Argentine Government, did not guarantee the right to remit allowances overseas to dependants of British railway employees. These and similar remittances are governed by Argentine exchange laws and regulations. This was the case even when the railways were in British ownership. As regards the second part of the Question, the figures required are not separately classified and the average annual value of these allowances cannot be established from the sources of information at my disposal.

Mr. Galbraith

Does that answer mean that the Minister is satisfied with the present state of affairs? Is it not a fact that Italian and Spanish nationals are being more favourably treated than British nationals in this matter? In view of the hardship which is being caused to dependants of British nationals employed by Argentine Railways will he not do something to try to deal with this matter in isolation from other currency problems affecting the two countries?

Mr. Younger

It certainly does not mean that we are satisfied with the present position, but it is, unfortunately, the case that we have reason to believe that there has been some discrimination in favour of other nationals. We have made complaints about it and we are trying to deal with the position. In reply to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's question, whether we can deal with it in isolation, it is rather difficult. There are a good many matters under discussion at the moment, but we shall not lose sight of this one. I doubt whether it can be dealt with in complete isolation.