HC Deb 27 July 1925 vol 187 cc13-5

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has considered the memorandum of the British Foreign Office of 29th May, 1923, in which it was stated that His Majesty's Government would be quite willing, in case of future infringements of the undertaking about propaganda by the Soviet Government, that the case should be brought immediately to the attention of the Government concerned rather than that such incidents should be allowed to accumulate before complaint is made; and whether he proposes to observe this engagement at the present time?

The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Austen Chamberlain)

Yes, Sir. I have borne this engagement, in mind, and in my interviews with M. Rakovsky I have


As the answer involves a number of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Can the hon. Gentleman say if the United States are selling more to Russia than we are?


I will give the figures roughly. The exports from the United Kingdom in 1924 totalled over £11,000,000 and from the United States the total was over £9,500,000.

Following is the reply:

The following statement shows the total) exports from the United Kingdom and the United States of America recorded as consigned to Soviet Russia during the periods named:

drawn his attention to the character and continuance of the activities of which His Majesty's Government have reason to complain. I do not, however, consider that any useful purpose would be served or friendly relations promoted by a constant stream of detailed complaints.


Does the right hon. Gentleman not think, considering that the Government engaged that it would give detailed instances, that it would be advisable to give M. Rakovsky some of the incidents of which he complains?


I have indicated quite sufficiently clearly what it is of which His Majesty's Government have reason to complain. There is no occasion to give details.

Lieut.- Commander KENWORTHY

Before we rise for the Recess, would it be possible to give the House of Commons that information, which we have not yet had, in detail?


Yes. It is the general failure of the Soviet Government to comply with those undertakings of the Trade Agreement which stipulate that neither party to the Agreement will use its influence to promote or will encourage movements hostile to the other in other parts of the world.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

I am aware of that. Might we have the details of where this failure has occurred?


I do not think any particular purpose is served by a string of detailed complaints. The facts are almost notorious, and I cannot think that I am called upon to give details of particular occasions or to disclose the information which is in my possession.


Is it not a fact that members of the Soviet Government have actually boasted openly of their success in undermining the interests of the British Empire?


If they have made that boast, I think they have boasted prematurely.