Orders of the Day — Argentine Railways (Pensioners)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20 July 1949.

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Photo of Mr Luke Teeling Mr Luke Teeling , Brighton 12:00, 20 July 1949

I have a number of constituents interested in this pension question. They have come to see me in the past, and I have tried to link this up with another question which I have asked frequently in the House, namely, what was going to happen to the Buenos Aires Transport Corporation and the payment of their funds. Therefore, I have not pressed the pensions question, because I thought it seemed to be involved in the same issue. When we read the White Paper, we see the pensions problem is very definitely being brought into the consideration of this matter.

All I would like to ask tonight is for the hon. Gentleman to assure us that, since the Treaty has been signed, we have not, so to speak, in Buenos Aires, sat back. I am fully aware that in the Argentine and South America there are delays and that people take a long time over this. I also know, in this country even, we have too many people who can deal with these foreign trade issues and problems, and therefore, we can only deal with one at a time. Therefore, we must not press too hard for a too sudden decision to be made.

It was said that, as soon as the Treaty had been signed, the question of these pensions and also the question of the other matters of Buenos Aires Transport and so on would be dealt with. As far as we know, nothing very much has happened. We must not complain about that, because it is only a fortnight or so since the Treaty was signed; but I should like some assurance from the hon. Gentleman that our Embassy has not, so to speak, entirely gone on holiday in regard to the matter, but are pressing on and going to deal with all these issues.

There are some of these wretched people who feel they have lost all and who have been hoping, indeed, are hoping—not necessarily against hope, but not with an optimistic possibility—to be repaid, or that something is to be done for them in the near future. They should not feel that because a Treaty has been signed, we are now not going to press on with the other issues. There is a general feeling of happiness, in a sense, as a result of the Treaty, both in the Argentine and here, which was exemplified in the speeches made yesterday by the Foreign Secretary and also by the Argentine Ambassador. I hope we are now going to press that all these issues may be settled.