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Germany And Persia (Consuls)

Volume 236: debated on Monday 10 March 1930

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asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether seeing that there are already 29 Consuls-general and Vice-Consuls in Persia, that an additional one is being proposed, and that already there are more Consuls in Persia than there are in Germany, whereas our trade with Persia is only one-fortieth of our trade with Germany, he will increase our Consular representation in Germany or reduce our over-representation in Persia?

The number of Consuls necessary to afford adequate protection for British subjects and trade must vary in different countries and circumstances. It must, for example, depend not only on the volume of trade, but on such factors as distances, means of communication, difficulty of language, and climate. The new appointment in Persia is that of a commercial diplomatic officer and not a Consular officer. In Germany there are already two commercial diplomatic officers.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the chief work at the present time is for our Consuls to find work for themselves, and, as our trade with Germany is far greater than our trade with Persia, cannot he send some of those redundant Consuls to Germany?

Is it not a fact that many of these Vice-Consuls are purely nominal Vice-Consuls?

I do not think that that is so. I think that these are men on the staff, and that the hon. and gallant Member who put down the question has not realised that a certain number of them are employed really by the Government of India, and that the Government of India find their pay.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is practically no work for them to do?