HC Deb 28 February 1952 vol 496 cc1442-3
13. Mr. T. W. Jones

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give a list of embassies to which labour attachés have not been appointed.

Sir W. Monckton

Labour attachés are not at present attached to 18 embassies or legations. I will, if I may, circulate the list in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The list excludes countries in which the embassies have available the services of labour advisers appointed to the office of the Commissioner General for South-East Asia or the British Middle East Office. A number of the labour attachés cover more than one country.

Mr. H. Hynd

Is the Minister aware of the importance of having labour attaches particularly in countries which do not operate our system of maintaining peace in industry and our system of democratic trade unionism?

Sir W. Monckton

Yes, Sir. I well understand the importance of these attachés. There are now 22 of them in posts, and they cover some 53 countries.

Mr. Alfred Robens

Will the Minister give an assurance that he will withstand any attempt to reduce the number of labour attachés which have already been appointed?

Sir W. Monckton

I cannot give that undertaking in that form. The need for economy in overseas expenditure has to be taken into account, and when we do that I cannot say how this review may affect the present appointments.

Mr. Robens

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that it is our considered view on this side of the House that labour attachés are highly important and should be retained?

Sir W. Monckton

Yes, Sir.

Mr. W. M. F. Vane

Can my right hon. and learned Friend make clear exactly what is the prime duty of these labour attachés? Is it to aid our ambassadors, to aid my right hon. and learned Friend's department or to give an example of our methods in the countries to which they are posted, as the hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd) tried to indicate? These are three very different things.

Sir W. Monckton

I do not underestimate the importance of the work that is done by labour attachés. All I was indicating was that, important though that work is, it has to be looked at in the setting of our economy as a whole.

Following is the list:

Afghanistan; China; Czechoslovakia; Nepal; Norway; Portugal; Soviet Union; Turkey; Yugoslavia; Bulgaria; The Holy See; Hungary; Iceland; Korea; Liberia; Philippines; Roumania; Switzerland.

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