Letter: Citizen Pinochet

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The Independent Culture
Sir: In issuing General Pinochet a diplomatic visa, the current Chilean authorities have tried to deceive the UK government and world opinion.The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 makes it clear that the issue of such passports is intended not to benefit individuals but to "ensure the efficient performance of the functions of diplomatic missions as representing states".

Mr Pinochet was not in England as a representative of the Chilean state. He went first to Paris, then to London, to seek medical assistance. The British government was right it refusing to consider Mr Pinochet's alleged diplomatic immunity and to treat him as a private citizen.


Santiago, Chile