HC Deb 21 April 1920 vol 128 cc376-7
46. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Prime Minister where the Commercial Mission which left Russia for this country, headed by M. Krassin, is now; what is the reason for the delay in its reaching this country; and when it is hoped to commence exchanging commodities with Russia?

50. Colonel NEWMAN

asked the Prime Minister whether M. Krassin and a deputation from Russia, as rpresenting the co-operative movement in Russia, is about to visit this country; whether he is aware that the co-operative movement in Russia has been suppressed for some time past; whether this deputation is coming on its own initiative or at the request of the Government of this country; and whether it will pay its own expenses while in England, or whether its members are to be treated as guests and accommodated at a leading London hotel?

Mr. BONAR LAW (Leader of the House)

A trade deputation from Russia is at present in Copenhagen, and preliminary discussions have taken place between the delegation and representatives of the Supreme Economic Council.

Further progress has been delayed pending consideration by the Allied Governments of certain questions of principle raised by the Russian delegates.

The Russian trade delegation is coming as the result of a request addressed by the Russian Central Union of Co-operative Societies to the British Government through the London offices of the Russian Co-operative Societies. Its expenses in England, and the expenses of its journey to England, will be paid by the Russian Co-operative Societies or by their existing representatives in London.


Is it not the fact that this deputation declines to come to England because we declined to allow M. Litvinoff to come here?


That point has been raised; I believe there are others; but I cannot add anything to the answer I have given.


In view of the circumstances would it not be possible for the Government to reconsider their attitude?

Colonel NEWMAN

Is it not a fact that the co-operative movement has been suppressed by the Soviet Government?


I do not know exactly what has happened, but I think the movement is under the control of the Soviet Government.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether private firms will be allowed to negotiate business with these people independent of the Supreme Council?


I should like notice of that question.