HC Deb 05 February 1957 vol 564 cc232-3
35 and 36. Mr. Teeling

asked the Minister of Works (1) whether, since the German Government is about to open a consulate for the first time in Nice because of the increasing industrial development in that area, he will consider letting to them the British Consulate there which is about to be closed;

(2) for how long Her Majesty's Government have a lease of the Consulate buildings in Nice; what steps he has taken to terminate the agreement; what is the rent; and what will be the cost to this country of maintaining the empty Consulate if the landlord refuses to take it back.

Mr. Molson

The offices of the Consulate General at Nice are held on a six years' lease from 1st January, 1954. Terms for the surrender of the lease on 15th February, 1957, have been agreed and accepted by the landlord. The question of disposing of our interest to the German Government does not therefore arise.

Mr. Teeling

While I realise that my right hon. Friend was not in charge of the Department at the time that this decision was made, may I ask whether he does not consider it a worrying matter that the Germans are intending to move into a consulate in Nice when we are moving out and that, with the exception of the Republic of Ireland, we are the only country represented on the South Coast of France which has not a representative in this area, which is fast developing industrially?

Mr. Molson

The question of policy whether the Consulate General should or should not be closed is one for my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary.

Sir R. Boothby

Will not my right hon. Friend give serious consideration to moving this Consulate a few miles up the coast to Monte Carlo, which has now become a great centre of the shipping industry and where facilities exist for making money which are not available elsewhere?

Mr. Molson

I am inclined to think that it would be as well if we stuck to the present arrangement.