§ Mr. Marlow
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans with regard to the staffing of the United Kingdom's embassy in Beirut; and whether any reduction is planned in the scope of its functions.
§ Mr. Hurd
Because of the security situation in Beirut, we have looked carefully at embassy staff numbers. Our view at present is that only staff necessary to maintain essential functions should remain there. The number may vary with circumstances. The ambassador will remain. Consular services will be maintained, but inevitably at a reduced level. The visa section closed on 7 May. We shall continue to watch the situation in the hope that these measures need be only temporary.