HC Deb 19 January 1965 vol 705 cc28-9W
90. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, if he has yet completed his investigation as to why, and in what circumstances, the telegram sent by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to the Ministry of Health, warning the latter that tins of beef sent by the Argentine to Great Britain, which caused the typhoid epidemic in Aberdeen, was delayed in delivery.

Mr. George Thomson

Yes. Two telegrams were concerned. These were dispatched through our Embassy in Montevideo on the evening of 2nd March last.

Both telegrams should have been received in the Foreign Office during the night of 2nd-3rd March. They were not received, apparently because of a fault on the teleprinter circuit between the Post Office and the Foreign Office. This failure should have been revealed by standard checking procedure in the Foreign Office but, unfortunately, this was not properly applied. Thus it was not until 5th March that it was discovered these telegrams were missing. Repetitions were immediately requested from the Embassy, and the repeated texts, received in the Foreign Office on 7th March, were passed to the Ministry of Agriculture.