HC Deb 17 February 1930 vol 235 cc899-901
16. Sir K. WOOD

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether his attention has been called to recent publications of the Soviet official newspaper "Pravda," containing adverse statements in relation to this country and the Government, asserting that 320,000,000 population of India were now marching under the red flag towards freedom from British rule, and that in the Near East is rapidly approaching a revolution which will make an end of the imperialistic plans of the Labour Government; and what action he has taken in the matter?


My Department has been unable to identify the article described by the right hon. Gentleman. But even if such an article has been published in the Russian Press, I do not consider that it calls for any action on my part.

Sir. K. WOOD

Do I understand from the second part of the right hon. Gentleman's reply that the statement appeared, but that he is going to take no action whatever; and is he still going to permit the agreement to be flagrantly broken?


I have already stated the Government's position to the House. The Government must be the judge in the first instance.


Surely the Government of this country are not in a position to prevent a Russian Government paper saying that millions of workers in India are marching under the red flag, any more than they can prevent English newspapers from saying that millions of peasants in Russia are marching under the white flag.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the Comintern, the executive committee of the Red International in Moscow, has recently secured the formation in this country of a body called the London Industrial Council, which has entered into an agreement with the Moscow Council of Trade Unions for securing the establishment of revolutionary factory organisation here; and whether he proposes to take any and, if so, what action in the matter?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the formation of the London Industrial Council, in view of its pledge to carry on constant propaganda and to secure the establishment of revolutionary organisations; and, in view of its connection with the Comintern, will be make this a subject of protest to the Soviet Government as a breach of the protocol of last October?


The London Industrial Council is not a recent creation, according to my information. I understand that it was inaugurated in April last, in opposition to the London Trades Council. It is not of sufficient importance to merit undue attention, or to call for a protest.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say what is of sufficient importance; and, in view of the fact that, at least, there has been propaganda by this body, will he consider if that is not of sufficient importance to justify a protest being made under the Protocol of last October?


I have already said that I did not think it was of sufficient importance to make a protest about it, but there might be a difference of opinion as to its value between the hon. Member and myself.


In making inquiries about these shadow bodies, will the right hon. Gentleman try to ascertain the extent to which they are promoted by Tory influence and Tory money?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the statement of the head of the Soviet Government that it is the intention of that Government to urge the proletariat abroad to decisive revolutionary battles at once; and what steps he proposes to take in the matter?


I have seen reports of statements alleged to have been made in the Soviet Union on the lines suggested. I do not consider that any action on the part of His Majesty's Government is called for in regard to reported statements in another country.


Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that M. Stalin's statement is in accordance, either with the letter or the spirit of the Protocol?


There again, of course, it is a matter of debate as to whether it is of importance or not; but, as I have already said, if I had to take notice of all the statements made in this or any other country, I should be wholly employed.

Captain EDEN

Does not the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that this is very much more important than any preceding statement—that it is not a statement in a newspaper, but a statement by the head of the Government?


It may be that there is a certain importance to be attached to it, but not sufficient for me to make a protest.

Captain EDEN

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider that a statement made by the Prime Minister of this country was of importance?