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Foreign Office (Registry Clerk)

Volume 464: debated on Monday 2 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why Miss Lilian Hemsley has been dismissed from his Department; what post she held; and whether she has been transferred to another Ministry.

Miss Hemsley has not been dismissed from the Foreign Office. She is an established clerical officer employed as a registry clerk in the Archives Department. The question of her transfer will arise if action now being taken in her case in accordance with the Prime Minister's statement of 15th March. 1948, shows this to be necessary.

Is the Minister aware that the confidential nature of the work which Miss Hemsley was doing consisted, to a large degree, in posting whisky to diplomatic missions abroad, and, further, that she applied for a transfer to the Ministry of Education as long ago as early last year? That being so, can the Minister explain the reason why she is being removed at this stage, and for what reason?

I have said that she is not necessarily being removed; my answer explained that. As to the whisky, I cannot accept that as a description of the work she did, but I must make it clear that it is not possible to make a clear distinction between secret and non-secret work in the Foreign Office.