HC Deb 11 June 1959 vol 606 cc1181-2
46. Mr. Rankin

asked the Prime Minister if he will state the cost to public funds of the telegram he sent to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs at Geneva on Monday 1st June.

The Prime Minister

Naturally, a large number of telegrams pass between the Foreign Office and the delegation at Geneva, including telegrams from me to my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary. Any particular telegram involves no direct cost to public funds, since it is sent over a teleprinter line, the cost of which does not depend on the volume of traffic carried.

Mr. Rankin

Despite that, surely at some stage public funds were involved to some extent in this operation. Apart from that, in view of the fact that the Prime Minister has himself publicised the telegram, what prevents him from publishing the terms of the telegram for the benefit of both sides of the House?

The Prime Minister

I think that the hon. Member missed altogether with his first barrel and was not very successful with his second.

Mr. Shinwell

Since apparently it costs nothing to send a telegram to the Foreign Secretary at Geneva, will the Prime Minister send him another telegram to tell him that I have a Question down for next Wednesday and that I should like him to be here to answer it?

The Prime Minister

I will certainly convey that to him, with all the more pleasure because, as I have said, I can do so without public expense.