HC Deb 30 June 1952 vol 503 cc29-30
37. and 38. Mr. S. O. Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) on what grounds 15 members of the United Nations staff, New York, were recently dismissed; what were the charges made against them; what judicial inquiries were made, and by whom, into the charges; and what facilities were given to the persons concerned to answer charges brought against them;

(2) what are the grounds for the threatened dismissal of 30 or more members of the United Nations staff, New York; and if he will instruct our representatives at the United Nations to object to the dismissals until the charges are proved by an impartial judicial inquiry.

Mr. Nutting

I understand that certain employees of the United Nations Secretariat who have been serving on temporary engagement or have reached the retiring age of 60 have recently had their appointments terminated. The matter is, however, not one regarding which Her Majesty's Government have any title to intervene.

Mr. Davies

Will the hon. Gentleman have another look at this Question? Does not this Question make it abundantly clear that the reference is to those who have been hounded out of office as undesirable—the usual kind of terminology that is used in the United States to ruin the reputation of good men? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I am not satisfied that the Question has been answered at all?

Mr. Nutting

The hon. Member may not be satisfied because he will not accept my assurance that, according to my information, these employees have been dismissed either because they were serving in temporary engagements and the United Nations Secretariat wish to increase the proportion of permanent employees, or because they have reached the retiring age of 60.

As regards the hon. Gentleman's plea to look into it again, I should like to remind him of Article 100 of the Charter of the United Nations, of which I have no doubt he is a supporter. It says: In the performance of their duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any Government. …

Mr. Davies

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter again at the first opportunity.

Sir H. Williams

On a point of order. As the Under-Secretary of State has said that there is no responsibility on the part of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, may I ask why these Questions were permitted to be placed on the Order Paper?

Mr. Speaker

I think the Questions were allowed because the Minister was asked if he would instruct our representatives at the United Nations to object. I think that was proper, but the responsibility remains outside Her Majesty's Government and the rest of the Question is strictly not in order.