HC Deb 14 December 1964 vol 704 c16
20. Mr. Dodds- Parker

asked the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs what advice he gives to British organisations with members stationed in disturbed areas of Africa and Asia to withdraw at least their wives and children in good time when civil disturbance appears probable.

Mr. George Thomson

Her Majesty's Government recognise their duty to warn British communities in foreign countries when their lives and property appear to be endangered. The nature of the warning depends on the circumstances. The responsibility for deciding what action to take on receipt of a warning rests on each individual and on the organisation to which he or she is attached.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Would it be possible to be rather more emphatic than that in some areas of Africa and Asia where minorities are obviously endangered and to try to suggest more emphatically that women and children might be got out a bit earlier?

Mr. Thomson

I recognise the importance of this subject. The timing of such a warning is a delicate matter in which consideration for the safety of British lives and property has to be weighed against the risk of causing unnecessary alarm and hardship.