HC Deb 14 April 1930 vol 237 cc2614-6

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can make a statement as to the present position of the negotiations for an Anglo-Soviet Russian trade treaty?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, under the trade treaty now under negotiation with the Russian Soviet Ambassador, it is contemplated to give special diplomatic privileges to any trade representatives such as were previously given to the directors of Arcos, or whether it is proposed that the Soviet Government should be in the same position as other persons engaging in trade with this country?


Yes, Sir. Negotiations have been proceeding for the purpose of concluding a temporary commercial agreement to serve as a modus vivendi pending the conclusion of a full treaty. Although certain points remain to be settled, agreement has been reached on the main features of this temporary instrument. It will provide generally for the reciprocal grant of most-favoured-nation treatment in respect of trade, and of national treatment, subject to certain exceptions, in respect of shipping. It will also accord to the Soviet Government the right to establish in London a trade delegation consisting of the trade representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and his two deputies, forming part of the Soviet Embassy. The head of this delegation, and the two deputies, will consequently receive diplomatic privileges. Immunity will also attach to specified offices, occupied by the delegation and used exclusively for commercial purposes. The diplomatic privileges accorded by the agreement will not, however, be claimed in connection with any proceedings before the Courts in respect of commercial transactions entered into by the delegation in this country.

It is hoped to bring this temporary agreement, which will be subject to denunciation at six months' notice, and only valid pending the conclusion of a full Treaty of Commerce and Navigation, into operation at an early date.


Will the agreement be immediately published and made available to the House?


It will be published as a White Paper at an early date.

Lieut.-Colonel JAMES

Can the hon. Member say whether, when any of these officials go home, they will be afforded protection against their own Government?


Arising out of Question 32, can the hon. Gentleman say how the Government propose to see that these officers are used only for commercial purposes, if they are at the same time to have diplomatic privileges?


The hon. Member has answered the question on the Paper.

30. Sir W. DAVISON

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give an assurance to the House that no new trade treaty will be entered into with the Russian Soviet Government before a definite settlement has been arrived at as to the payment of private debts owing to British nationals?


I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Chislehurst (Mr Smithers) on the 20th of March. As I have already informed the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood), the negotiations for a full commercial treaty have not yet begun. My right hon. Friend contemplates that these negotiations and those for a settlement of claims and debts will proceed concurrently.


The hon. Member has not answered the point raised in my question as to whether any definite settlement will be arrived at until an agreement has been reached as to the payment of debts to British nationals who have had their property taken without compensation?


That is covered by the reply to a question by the hon. Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Smithers) on the 20th March.


Are we to take it, in view of the statement made in reply to an earlier question, that it is the policy of His Majesty's Government to enter into a trade agreement before the debts are settled?


The previous answer which I gave to the right hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) gave particulars of the trade agreement. That, as I have already informed the House, has practically been concluded. As I have stated in reply to the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison), it is contemplated by my right hon. Friend that the negotiations for the full trade treaty, which is to follow the trade agreement, and for the settlement of debts and claims, will proceed concurrently.

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