HC Deb 24 February 1926 vol 192 cc492-3
16. Sir F. HALL

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the Report on Foreign Affairs, by M. Zinovieff, at the opening recently of the Communist International Conference, in which he urged the intensification of Communist activities in this country, with the object of promoting the revolutionary overthrow of the present constitutional system of government; whether the adoption of this attitude on the part of a leading representative of the Union of Soviet Republics is accepted by the Government as in accord with the obligation accepted by Russia in the Trading Agreement with this country; and, if not, whether it is intended to make official representations on the matter?


I have seen the report which has appeared in our own Press of M. Zinovieff's speech. I do not gather that his animosity to the existing organisation of society in this country is any stronger than his dislike of the conditions prevailing in all other civilised communities, nor can I bring myself readily to believe that our people afford a favourable field for propaganda of this character. I do not propose to make any representations to the Soviet Government on this speech. Any measures which are thought necessary for the protection of society here will, of course, be taken by the competent authorities.


Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman not been drawn to the fact that this country and China were singled out as the two countries in which the propaganda might be utilised for the benefit of Socialism and Communism?


Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, is it not the case that there are certain individuals in this House who fear that if anything is done in regard to Russia they will lose their hunters?


I think my hon. and gallant Friend has seen a briefer report than the one I have myself read. Although there was special attention drawn to them, this country and China were not the only countries mentioned in the report I saw. I think we can defend ourselves, and our own community, and we need not attach undue importance to utterances of this kind, though as a contributing factor in international relations they must be considered.


Does not my right hon. Friend realise the danger of the large credits which are available to the Soviet Government under the Trading Agreement, and which can be used for subversive propaganda in this country?


I do not know what large credits are available to the Soviet Government under the Trading Agreement.


If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that there is no ground in this country for the carrying on of this propaganda, will he make suitable representations to the Home Secretary?