Vatican (British Representative)

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th March 1972.

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Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford 12:00 am, 27th March 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will now raise the rank of the British representative to the Holy See to that of ambassador.

Photo of Mr Anthony Royle Mr Anthony Royle , Richmond (Surrey)

Not yet. But I am keeping under review the status of our representative.

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

I thank my hon. Friend for what I take to be a helpful reply. Would it not be an appropriate moment to remedy this anomaly when we enter the Community, because otherwise we should find ourselves in a position of having the Holy See represented at Community level and not at national level?

Photo of Mr Anthony Royle Mr Anthony Royle , Richmond (Surrey)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his remark and for his interest in this subject. Her Majesty's Minister has always been treated with courtesy and understanding, and I do not think at this stage that he needs additional navigational aids, apart from the excellent advice which I am sure my hon. Friend will make freely available to him.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

Is not this matter frequently raised in the House and is not the answer given by successive Governments always "Not yet", "Not now", "Sometime", "Perhaps never" or something like that? As the matter is being kept under review, will my hon. Friend, having done a bit more reviewing, make another report to the House at an early date?

Photo of Mr Anthony Royle Mr Anthony Royle , Richmond (Surrey)

I think my hon. Friend is correct in saying that the answers over the last few years have tended to be somewhat similar. The matter is kept under review. I do not wish to make any attempt to forecast at the moment, but I will certainly bear in mind all the comments that my hon. Friends have made.