HC Deb 02 June 1927 vol 207 cc542-5
58. Mr. TAYLOR

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, before breaking off diplomatic relations with Russia, he consulted the Law Officers of the Crown as to whether the suspension of diplomatic relations between London and Moscow will affect the judgment given on 12th May, 1921, by Lord Justices Bankes, Warrington and Scrutton?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Godfrey Locker-Lampson)

The reply is in the negative. I am advised that the decision of His Majesty's Government to suspend diplomatic relations with the soviet Government does not affect the legal position as regards their recognition of that Government, on which the judgment of the Court of Appeal referred to by the hon. Member was based.


Is it perfectly clear that there is no possibility of action similar to that taken in 1920?


I think I have made it quite clear by my answer that the situation remains as it was when the Court of Appeal gave their decision.

Mr. CLYNES (by Private Notice)

asked the Home Secretary whether, arising out of the declaration of the Prime Minister on the 24th ultimo that the Government were prepared to make all arrangements necessary for ordinary trade facilities between this country and Russia, he can now indicate the policy the Government propose to adopt to this end?


His Majesty's Government have no desire to place any difficulties in the way of trade between Russia and this country, and Russians desiring to come here for the purposes of bona fide trade will have the same facilities accorded to them as the nationals of any other foreign Power. The same machinery with regard to visas and all other matters will apply as heretofore with only this exception, that there will not in future be a British Passport Control Officer within Soviet Russia. It is perhaps unnecessary to add that any such permission to come here for the purpose of trade will be on the implied understanding that the holder of the passport dons not indulge in activities or propaganda detrimental to this country.


May I ask whether Russia will be in the same position as other nations under the Trade Facilities Act?


That question must be addressed elsewhere.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Has the right hon. Gentleman any confirmation of the report that the harbour of Vladivostok has been closed to British ships, and can he say whether any special arrangements are being made with reference to British fishing vessels which frequent that port?


As regards the first question, the answer is that that Government has no information at ali. In regard to the second question, I am afraid I must ask for notice before I can give details.


In view of the absence of Consuls for protecting British shipping interests and British seamen in Russian ports, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman will advise British shipping interests to continue to trade in those ports?


I can only say that at the moment complete arrangements are not yet made. I have already stated that the Norwegian Government have been asked to take charge of the interests of British nationals in Russian ports, and I can see no reason whatever why British nationals should not trade with Russian nationals and Russian nationals trade with us.

Colonel DAY

Have the Norwegian Government the power to visa passports?


That is a question which has not yet been settled. The complete details have not yet been settled.


In view of the fact that the Norwegian and German Governments have regular Consular services in Russian ports, would not British traders be safer if they used Norwegian and German ships?


I do not think so.

Colonel DAY

May I ask who will be responsible until the time when that matter is settled, so that passports can be visad and Russians come here to trade?


Anybody can apply here for a visa, if he wishes to come here, and any Russian subject can apply in any town in the world where there happens to be a British passport office.

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