HC Deb 01 March 1965 vol 707 cc897-8
3. Commander Courtney

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many chauffeurs attached to foreign diplomatic missions come within the term, Officials of a Particular Category, within the meaning of paragraph 2 of Article 11 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations; and whether, in the interests of reciprocity, he will rectify the existing situation in respect of the 20 chauffeurs attached to the Soviet, Czechoslovak, Hungarian and Bulgarian embassies as allowed for by this Article.

Mr. George Thomson

All chauffeurs attached to foreign missions might be considered to come within the terms of this paragraph of the Vienna Convention. But we would not consider using the paragraph as a basis for refusing to accept certain officials by reason only of their nationality.

Commander Courtney

Will the Minister of State accept that there is an important security aspect to this matter? Can he give an unequivocal assurance that the past record of these embassies is such as fully to justify the special degree of privilege and amenity which we give them, which is more than we give to our closest and best friends and allies?

Mr. Thomson

There is always a security aspect involved in these diplomatic arrangements. We do not think that there is any imbalance in the present arrangements. We could if we chose employ our own chauffeurs in our embassies in the countries which the hon. and gallant Gentleman mentioned, but we are satisfied with the present arrangements.