HC Deb 29 April 1930 vol 238 cc36-8
80. Mr. ALBERY

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for what purpose diplomatic privileges and immunities are required by three officials of the Soviet trade delegation; and why this immunity shall attach to the offices occupied exclusively for commercial functions, seeing that the delegation are solely responsible for trade transactions and that any question arising from commercial transactions is to be settled by British courts?


In view of the fact that, by virtue of the laws of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the foreign trade of the Union is a State monopoly, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have agreed to accord to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics the right to establish in London a Trade Delegation consisting of the trade representative of the Union and his two deputies forming part of the Embassy of the Union, and in virtue of this arrangement the head of the Trade Delegation and his two deputies have been accorded all diplomatic privileges and immunities. The diplomatic status of these officials having thus been recognised, it is in accordance with ordinary international custom that the premises in which they carry on their functions should enjoy immunity.


Assuming that His Majesty's Government acknowledge the right of the Soviet Government to carry on trade in their country according to their customs, is it not equally suitable that trade in this country, even if by a government, should be carried on in accordance with our customs?


I do not see that that point arises. We have just extended, in this agreement, the same diplomatic treatment that the Soviet Government have received in all other countries, including France and Italy.


Will the right hon. Gentleman state why these special facilities should be given to a Government of

January to March.
1925. 1930.
Quantity. Declared Value. Quantity. Declared Value.
Gross. £ Gross. £
Retained Imports 2,851,921 232,950 2,857,242 99,360
Exports (United Kingdom manufacture) 333,766 50,838 195,861 26,628

this kind, which is repudiating all its obligations to this country?


In answer to the original question, I have given the reasons that have influenced His Majesty's Government.


Will this lead to special privileges for British traders in Russia?