HC Deb 18 November 1920 vol 134 cc2078-80
59. Mr. RAPER

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that the All-Russian Co-operative Society have been acting on behalf of the Russian Trade Delegation; and whether it will be a condition of the proposed trade agreement with Soviet Russia that organisations of a purely Communist nature, such as the company referred to, shall be allowed to operate in this country?


Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, may I ask whether he considers it to be in the public interest to give an answer, seeing that at the moment delicate negotiations are proceeding, and especially in view of the fact that such questions are, apparently, put in the interests of competitive trade?


I do not think that there is anything in my answer that will disturb anybody. I understand that the All-Russian Co-operative Society have acted for the Russian Trade Delegation in respect of certain commercial transactions for the proposed supply of goods to Russia. I am not in a position to say what commercial agencies Soviet Russia might wish to employ in the event of a trade agreement being arrived at.


May I ask whether, in view of the great importance of the pro posed trade treaty from a political stand point, quite apart from the economic point of view, he proposes to give this House full particulars as to the terms of the treaty before sending it to be signed; and further, if the answer be in the negative—


The hon. Member had better put that question down.

60. Mr. RAPER

asked the Prime Minister on what grounds His Majesty's Government permitted the registration on the 11th June, 1920, of the All-Russian Co-operative Society, considering that the three directors are notorious Communists, the one, M. Kryssin, having been arrested in September, 1918, for reasons similar to those which led to M. Litvinoff's deportation, another director, M. Rosovsky, having been deported from this country a few weeks ago on the same grounds, and the third director, Mme. Polotseva, being an intimate associate of both M. Kryssin and M. Rosovsky?

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers, may I ask whether—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—[Interruption.]


It will be more convenient to let the right hon. Gentleman answer first. If there be any matter requiring elucidation, the hon. and gallant Member can ask a supplementary question about it.


I have been asked to reply. The All-Russian Co-operative Society, Limited, was registered on the 11th June, 1920, and according to the return on the company's file the directors bear the names mentioned by my hon. Friend. There are no provisions in the company statutes under which the registrar would have been entitled to refuse registration of the company on the grounds mentioned.

Lieut.- Commander KENWORTHY

May I ask whether this delegation did not come here at the request and invitation of His Majesty's Government; and whether they cannot do something to prevent their supporters from making personal attacks on the delegation in this country?