HC Deb 18 July 1966 vol 732 cc20-1
21. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now take steps to raise the status of Her Majesty's mission to the Holy See to that of an embassy.

Mr. George Thomson

I have nothing to add at present to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary gave in this House to the hon. Gentleman's Question on 21st February.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Is it not high time something was added to that reply? Is it not gravely discourteous to the Holy See, out of keeping with the dignity of Her Majesty, and regarded with resentment by Her Majesty's Catholic subjects, that this unique and anomalous situation should be allowed to continue?

Mr. Thomson

No, I cannot accept what the hon. Gentleman says, though I have sympathy with his original Question. Her Majesty's Government very much appreciate the rôle that the Vatican is playing in international affairs today, but the. present arrangements seem to us to be appropriate at the present time.