HC Deb 15 March 1923 vol 161 cc1756-7
Captain O'GRADY

(by Private Notice) asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information respecting the arrest of the Catholic Archbishop of Petrograd and 14 priests and who are now in prison in Moscow pending their trial on a charge of refusing to hand over certain church property to the State, being forbidden to do so by their ecclesiastical superiors in Rome. Whether there is any channel by which friendly representation can be made to the Russian Soviet Government in this matter, and, if so, will those offices be undertaken by His Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs with a view to the release of the prisoners?


The ecclesiastics referred to by the hon. Member were arrested on 10th March and conveyed through the streets in a military truck under armed guard. The trial was to begin on 14th March. Every effort has been made to save their lives. The British Agent at Moscow unofficially represented to the Soviet Government, early in the proceedings, the lamentable impression which would be caused on public opinion abroad by such action when no longer excusable on the ground of revolutionary necessities, and a further telegram has been despatched to him to-day to continue his efforts in the same direction. The Russian Trade Representative here has also been asked in a friendly way to do anything he can to avert a disastrous sentence. Besides this, knowing the active interest which is being taken by the Pope in the matter, a telegram has been addressed to His Majesty's Minister at the Vatican to enlist the continued sympathy and support of His Holiness.


Will the Under-Secretary request the law officers of the Crown to put. at the disposal of the Soviet Government all the details of the manner of dealing with similar persons during the English Reformation?

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