§ 21. Mr. Wilson Harris
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what categories of British officials attached to missions abroad are held to be covered by diplomatic immunity.
Governments normally establish the categories of officials of foreign diplomatic missions enjoying diplomatic immunity from the local jurisdiction, in accordance with certain general rules of international law and custom.
Since the application of these rules varies as each Government conceives its obligations under them, exact reciprocity is not always possible, but His Majesty's Government consider that it is entitled to expect the following: That the heads of His Majesty's diplomatic missions abroad, the members of their diplomatic staffs, 1587 and other officials performing clerical and comparable duties under the direction of His Majesty's Ambassador or Minister shall all, unless they are nationals of the country concerned, enjoy immunity from the local civil jurisdiction and, so far as the first two categories are concerned, from criminal prosecution also; and that officials of the third category shall not be prosecuted on a criminal charge except after consultation with the Head of the Mission in which they are employed.
§ Mr. Wilson Harris
While I am very much obliged for that full reply, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend is satisfied that there is sufficient uniformity of international practice in this matter, or will he agree that there is a case for endeavouring to negotiate an agreed convention through the United Nations Organisation?
There are certainly quite a surprising number of variations in practice, and I am sure my right hon. Friend will consider the suggestion that the system might be usefully reviewed under the United Nations machinery.