HC Deb 28 February 1973 vol 851 cc1486-7
16. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements exist in Her Majesty's embassies abroad for giving financial assistance to British citizens in cases of emergency.

Mr. Amery

If a United Kingdom citizen is in difficulties overseas and has funds in the United Kingdom, Her Majesty's missions abroad will assist him in arranging to transfer funds.

If he has no funds immediately available Her Majesty's missions may, against an undertaking to repay, advance money fawn public funds for repatriation to the United Kingdom.

Mr. Dempsey

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a constituent of mine who was unavoidably stranded in Rome was refused such assistance because the embassy staff said that all they had at their disposal was voluntary funds? In those circumstances, why should not loans, which would assuredly be repaid be made to any citizens in such a distressing situation?

Mr. Amery

The Under-Secretary of State wrote to the hon. Gentleman about Mrs. Rennie, his constituent. We offered to help to transfer money rapidly through Thomas Cooks to Mrs. Rennie, but she declined the offer.

Mr. Kilfedder

What assistance—financial or otherwise—was given to Mr. Wyman, who was recently charged and found guilty of espionage in a Dublin court? Can my right hon. Friend help the House on the allegation which was made, and tell us whether he was working as a British agent, and for which Minister?

Mr. Amery

I should want notice of that question. There is, of course, no difficulty about the transfer of funds between London and Dublin.

Mr. Kaufman

Will the right hon. Gentleman ensure that I receive as soon as possible a reply to the letter I sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with regard to the situation of a constituent of mine who has been swindled out of all his personal possessions in Venezuela, and on whose behalf I have written to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office asking for the intervention of the British Embassy in Caracas?

Mr. Amery

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman has received no reply yet. I will of course do my best to expedite a reply. If the circumstances concern Caracas, the hon. Gentleman may understand that it could be a little time before we know the exact facts.

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