HC Deb 18 February 1976 vol 905 cc1267-8
6. Mr. Newton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement on the progress of his efforts to secure the release of Mr. and Mrs. White-cross from detention in Argentina.

Mr. Rowlands

We have continued to urge upon the Argentine authorities the desirability of an early decision on the applications for expulsion made by Mr. and Mrs. Whitecross on 10th December.

Mr. Newton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Mr. Whitecross's parents, who live in my constituency, would wish me to thank our representatives for the efforts they have made so far? Can the hon. Gentleman confirm that the Argentine Government's present detention powers in this respect run out on 10th March? Will he convey to the Argentine Government this House's hope that Mr. and Mrs. Whitecross will be free well within that period, and that this could play a useful part in helping to improve relations between our two countries?

Mr. Rowlands

I thank the hon. Gentleman for what he has said. Our consul in Buenos Aires has done everything possible to help Mr. and Mrs. Whitecross, and particularly in the family's domestic circumstances here. The 60-day rule expires on 10th March, and only yesterday I made direct representations to the Argentine charge d'affaires in London that the Argentine Government should release Mr. and Mrs. Whitecross as speedily as possible.

Mr. Hoyle

Will my hon. Friend continue to make representations in this regard for both Mr. and Mrs. Whitecross? I realise that one of the problems is that Mrs. Whitecross is an Argentinian. Will he continue to make representations for their release as speedily as possible so that they can come back to this country?

Mr. Rowlands

We have made representations on behalf of both Mr. and Mrs. Whitecross, although only Mr. Whitecross is a British citizen.

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