HC Deb 12 May 1930 vol 238 cc1431-3
29. Captain EDEN

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, since the Russian trade agreement of 1921 laid down that diplomatic immunity could only be enjoyed personally, he will state why this principle has been departed from in recent negotiations on this subject?


I am not aware that there has been any departure from the principles inherent in the 1921 Agreement. So far as immunity is concerned, the broad difference between the 1921 Trade Agreement and the Temporary Commercial Agreement of the 16th of April, 1930, is that, whereas the former was a special arrangement concluded before the de jure recognition of the Soviet Government and in the absence of diplomatic relations, the latter is a more precise document actually resulting from the resumption of full diplomatic relations and the establishment of a Soviet Embassy of which the Trade Delegation forms a part.

Captain EDEN

Since the trade agreement, specifically limited commercial diplomatic immunity to personnel and since this arrangement extends that immunity to buildings, how does the hon. Gentleman reconcile this answer with the statement made last week that there was no change?


A number of questions on this point have been answered by my right hon. Friend and by me. I would, for example, refer the hon. and gallant Member to answers given on 7th May and, in particular, to the answer given on that date to a supplementary question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean).

Captain EDEN

May I ask the hon. Gentleman, however, if he does not see that there must be a difference between diplomatic immunity for persons and diplomatic immunity for buildings; and can I not have an answer to my question as to why the Government have made this departure when, last week, it was stated that there would be no departure?




We cannot go on like this.


On a point of Order. Is it not a fact, with great respect, that I did rise in my place to ask a supplementary question?


It is evident that the Minister has nothing more to say.

43. Sir A. KNOX

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether under the temporary trade agreement signed with the Ambassador of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, the immunity attached to the offices occupied by the trade delegation and used exclusively for its commercial functions will expire automatically if those offices should be used for another purpose?


Under Article 2 of the Agreement immunity attaches to the offices of the delegation used exclusively for the commercial purposes defined in the Agreement itself. The hon. and gallant Member will, I think, realise that it is impossible for me to state what action His Majesty's Government would decide to take in hypothetical circumstances.


If it is proved, as it was some years ago in regard to the former premises, that these trade premises are being used for propaganda purposes, will the hon. Gentleman take action?