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Single Women Diplomats (Personal Relationships)

Volume 33: debated on Thursday 2 December 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the rules governing the personal relationships of single women in sensitive diplomatic posts; and how these are supervised.

In addition to the written regulations governing general principles of conduct, which apply to all members of the diplomatic service, guidance on personal relationships is given at security courses to all those posted overseas. Among other matters covered at these briefings, single people are told that they are expected to conduct their private lives with discretion; and that their private relationships should not affect their work, give rise to justifiable criticism or make them vulnerable to pressure of any kind. At sensitive posts special briefing, both oral and written, tailored to the circumstances of each country is given to staff on arrival.Staff are under instructions to report immediately any indication that there is anything unusual arising from a contact with a foreign national.Heads of mission are responsible for the supervision of all their staff, with the assistance of their heads of chancery and post security officers.