HC Deb 23 March 1920 vol 127 cc220-1
1 Lieut.-Colonel JOHN WARD

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) whether it is proposed to select as members of or attached to the Allied Investigation Commission about to proceed to Russia, Russian subjects who have not been forced to accept Bolshevik rule balanced by a number of Russian subjects favourable to Soviet administration, or whether it is proposed to select the representatives upon the Commission from Allied nominees exclusively; if so, will a knowledge of the Russian language be made a condition of membership;

(2) Whether any steps have been taken, or any arrangement made with the Bolshevik Government, to secure protection for any Russian subject who may wish to give evidence to the Allied Commission which is about to proceed to Soviet Russia for the purpose of conducting the investigation as to the condition of affairs in Russia for the Allied Council; if any arrangement has been made, how do the Allies expect to secure any evidence from Russians resident in the districts controlled by the Soviet power other than that favourable to the Bolshevik administration;

(3) Whether, in choosing interpreters for the Allied Soviet Commission, care will be taken to exclude Russian subjects either favourable or opposed to Bolshevik rule, relying entirely upon competent Allied linguists for translating documents and interpreting oral or other evidence?


asked the Prime Minister whether the Allied Commission to Russia has been appointed, and, if so, who are they?


As stated by the Lord Privy Seal in answer to a question put by the hon. and gallant Member for East Leyton on March 17th, the Commission to visit Russia is being organised, not by the Supreme Council, but by the Council of the League of Nations, who have charge of all the arrangements connected with it.

I have caused enquiries to be made and I am informed that the Council are not yet in a position to announce the names of the members of the Commission or the date of its departure for Russia.

Sir J. D. REES

Would this not be a good opportunity to make use of the Russian interpreters who have been paid money to qualify and whose services are never used? Is there a list of them at the Foreign Office?


If my hon. Friend desires it, I will represent his view to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations.

Lieut.-Colonel WARD

One part of my question has not been answered, namely, what arrangements, if any, would be made for the safety of those who offer to give evidence that may be against the Soviet Government.


The hon. and gallant Member will see from the answer that the whole matter is in the hands of the League of Nations. If the hon. and gallant Members desires me to make any representation to the Secretary-General, I shall be happy to do so.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Are we to understand that, although we have a very distinguished representative on the Council of the League of Nations, we in this House have no sort of control over the policy entered into by our representative in our name? Is it not possible for the hon. Gentleman to answer these questions, and inform us as to the policy which our representative, speaking for this Government at any rate, is putting forward before the Council of the League? It is an important constitutional point.


If it is an important constitutional point, notice should be given of the question.

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