Maritime Consultative Organisation (Immunities and Privileges)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th July 1959.

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10.7 p.m.

Photo of Commander Robert Allan Commander Robert Allan , Paddington South

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation (Immunities and Privileges) Order, 1959, be made in the form of the draft laid before this House on 8th July. The House will remember that in July, 1955, we approved an Order conferring upon the Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation certain immunities and privileges. At the time it was known that these would have to be altered when the Organisation acceded to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialised Agencies by approving Annex XII of the Convention. This they did in January of this year, and the Convention came into force in February. We now, therefore, propose to revoke the 1955 Order and replace it by the one before the House tonight.

The main difference between the two Orders is very small, and is largely confined to making the changes which are necessary to give effect to the Annex. There is no difference in the first seven Articles. The main difference in Article 8 is that it expressly relates the immunities given to those accorded to an envoy of a foreign Power. Article 9 specifies the Secretary-General and the Secretary of the Safety Committee as the only holders of offices to be accorded full privileges and immunities. It excludes citizens of the United Kingdom so long as the headquarters of the Organisation remain in the United Kingdom.

Article 10 specifies the other classes of officers who are to enjoy limited privileges and immunities, and Article 11 confers on experts privileges and immunities when acting in their official capacity.

Although these Orders are by their nature somewhat complicated, I do not think that this one is controversial, and I hope that with that rather brief explanation the House may feel able to approve it.

10.10 p.m.

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent)

I do not think that the House would desire to tarry very long over this Order. As the Minister has explained, all that is being done is slightly to alter the existing privilege which this organisation enjoys. We on this side of the House recognise that privileges of this sort must be accorded to international bodies, but sometimes we question whether privileges are not being too widely and lavishly distributed.

I take it that the Minister has satisfied himself that the particular organisation should continue to enjoy this privilege and I hope that he will be able to assure us that he is satisfied that the privilege which is now being given by this amended Order does not go beyond what is strictly necessary for the proper performance by the organisation and its members of the duties incumbent upon it.

Photo of Commander Robert Allan Commander Robert Allan , Paddington South

I think that I can give that assurance, which concerns one of the points which I myself asked about. On the point whether there are too many of these Orders, the answer is that so long as we remain members of United Nations we are under an obligation to see that these Specialised Agencies get immunities and privileges which are broadly similar.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation (Immunities and Privileges) Order, 1959, be made in the form of the draft laid before this House on 8th July.

To be presented by Privy Councillors or Members of Her Majesty's Household.