HC Deb 25 July 1968 vol 769 cc218-20W
Mr. Luard

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what restrictions are at present imposed on British diplomats in Peking and on Chinese diplomats in London, respectively.

Mr. Foley

Apart from the withholding of exit visas for some members of the staff of the British Mission in Peking and their families, the restrictions placed on the movements of members of the Mission are in principle the same as those imposed on staffs of other foreign diplomatic missions. Members of foreign missions in Peking are required to remain within an area of 20 kilometres radius from the centre of Peking except for journeys to the airport to the East of the city and to a recreational area to the West. Visits are from time to time allowed to a limited number of other Chinese cities provided that permission has been obtained in advance. Such visits are at present apparently being permitted to the staffs of other foreign missions in Peking, but various requests which have been made by members of the staff of the British Mission since it was attacked last August have not been granted.

Members of the Chinese diplomatic Mission in London require visas to enter this country in accordance with the nor- mal practice for nationals of those countries with which no arrangements for abolition of visas exist. They are free to leave at any time. As regards travel within the United Kingdom, if they wish to proceed outside the area within 35 miles radius of Marble Arch, they are required to give written notice at least 48 hours in advance. Unless objection is raised, they are free to travel.

Mr. Luard

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many British diplomats in Peking are now awaiting exit permits; and how long they have been waiting.

Mr. Foley

Exit permits from China are at present awaited for four members of the diplomatic staff of the British Mission in Peking, including Sir Donald Hopson, the Chargé d'Affaires, and for the families of two of these; and for five other members of the staff and their families. The total is 18 persons. Details of the applications are as follows:

  1. (a) Made on 20th April for departure by 4th May: 1.
  2. (b) Made on 8th May for departure by 18th May: 4.
  3. (c) Made on 22nd May for departure by 7th June: 8.
  4. (d) Made on 19th June for departure by 13th July: 4.
  5. (e) Made on 22nd June for departure by 1st July: 1.

Representations about these outstanding applications are made at frequent intervals by the British Mission.