HC Deb 27 March 1972 vol 834 cc10-1
10. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will now raise the rank of the British representative to the Holy See to that of ambassador.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Anthony Royle)

Not yet. But I am keeping under review the status of our representative.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I thank my hon. Friend for what I take to be a helpful reply. Would it not be an appropriate moment to remedy this anomaly when we enter the Community, because otherwise we should find ourselves in a position of having the Holy See represented at Community level and not at national level?

Mr. Royle

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his remark and for his interest in this subject. Her Majesty's Minister has always been treated with courtesy and understanding, and I do not think at this stage that he needs additional navigational aids, apart from the excellent advice which I am sure my hon. Friend will make freely available to him.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is not this matter frequently raised in the House and is not the answer given by successive Governments always "Not yet", "Not now", "Sometime", "Perhaps never" or something like that? As the matter is being kept under review, will my hon. Friend, having done a bit more reviewing, make another report to the House at an early date?

Mr. Royle

I think my hon. Friend is correct in saying that the answers over the last few years have tended to be somewhat similar. The matter is kept under review. I do not wish to make any attempt to forecast at the moment, but I will certainly bear in mind all the comments that my hon. Friends have made.

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