HC Deb 24 June 1953 vol 516 cc1877-8
8. Mr. F. Maclean

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why Her Majesty's Ambassador at Katmandu had no opportunity of informing the King of Nepal of the successful ascent of Mount Everest until 2nd June, in view of the fact that he had already passed the news to "The Times" newspaper on 1st June.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

As my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary said in the House on 17th June, the first news received at Her Majesty's Embassy was contained in a message which Her Majesty's Ambassador was requested to pass to "The Times" and to the Himalayan Committee. The Ambassador considered it right to give time for the contents of this message from the leader of the expedition to be passed to London before communicating it to anyone else. Owing to the difference in time, the morning of 2nd June was, in the circumstances, the first suitable time for conveying the news to the King of Nepal.

Mr. Maclean

Does not my right hon. and learned Friend agree that, in failing to inform the King of the country in which Mount Everest is situated of the successful ascent of the mountain, Her Majesty's Ambassador committed a grave discourtesy?

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I have already explained that Her Majesty's Ambassador informed the King of Nepal as soon as he considered it appropriate, and in fact the King of Nepal heard from Her Majesty's Ambassador the first news of the successful ascent of the mountain.

Mr. Nicholson

Is it not a pity that the lustre of this magnificent feat should be clouded and obscured by petty bickerings?