HC Deb 09 July 1924 vol 175 cc2229-30
9. Mr. MOREL

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, seeing that the collection of pre-War documents known as the Russian Orange Book, purporting to contain the accurate text of the despatches of the late Imperial Russian Government to various Governments and of its agents abroad to the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs in the months of July and August, 1914, are proved to have been falsified in many vital particulars and that the inaccurate text was issued by His Majesty's Government as a State Paper, he will consider whether the time has come when this unwitting deception of the British public should be remedied by the issue of an amended State Paper containing the accurate text of these documents?


My hon. Friend's proposal opens up a prospect which His Majesty's Government could not entertain, of again laying before Parliament, in the light of subsequent publications in foreign countries, the whole of the diplomatic correspondence on the outbreak of the War. If a revised edition of "The Collected Diplomatic Documents on the Outbreak of the War" were to be issued, it would be necessary to include in it not merely the new documents contained in the publication referred to by the hon. Member, but also the very much more voluminous collection of documents published in Vienna and Berlin. The proper way to deal with this is by the publication of that part of the Russian Orange Book which consists of correspondence between His Majesty's Government and the Russian Government in the publication of pre-War records which is now being arranged, as the hon. Member knows from my reply to him on the 2nd July.


Can the hon. Gentleman say whether any falsifications have taken place, and whether they are the work of the present custodians of the Russian archives?


I shall require notice of that.


Is it the intention of the Foreign Office to bring these records up to date? At present they do not go beyond 1832, I believe.


I think if the right hon. Gentleman refers to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Morel) on 2nd July, he will see exactly what is the view of His Majesty's Government.

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