§ 8. Sir K. WOOD
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to recent issues of the "Izvestia" and the "Pravda," the organs of the Soviet Government, alleging that this country is supplying Indians with Russian rifles and cartridges for the sole purpose of discovering Moscow's hand in the upheaval which is naturally beginning in India against British oppression, and that if Indian revolutionaries are found bearing Russian arms it will be a plot against the Soviet Government; and whether he is taking any action in the matter?
Mr. A. HENDERSON
Yes, Sir. My attention has been drawn to the allegation that persons in certain European countries are endeavouring to purchase rifles of Russian manufacture for shipment to India. I am making inquiries into this matter.
§ Sir K. WOOD
But, apart from that, is not the spreading of these statements 1271 about Great Britain a direct contravention of the Treaty which the Soviet Government entered into?
Until I can satisfy myself that the people who are purchasing or attempting to purchase are acting on behalf of Russia, how can I say that?
§ Sir K. WOOD
Does not the right hon. Gentleman understand that these statements are being circulated in the official Government organ? That is the matter to which I am directing attention—not as to whether these matters are true or not, but whether this is not propaganda directly advanced against this country?
If the right hon. Gentleman has any information he can place at my disposal to show that these statements are authorised by the Russian Government, the matter will be fully investigated.
Mr. ERNEST WINTERTON
Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House where the rifles and cartridges are coming from to carry on civil war in China?
§ Mr. COCKS
On a point of Order. Is it not a rule when newspapers are quoted that the hon. Member putting the question should assure himself as to the accuracy of the quotation. These papers are printed in Russian, and therefore, unless the right hon. Gentleman can read Russian and has seen the papers, has he any right to make these allegations?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I understand that the papers referred to are of a different category from ordinary newspapers.
§ Mr. GODFREY LOCKER-LAMPSON
Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the 1272 recent standing orders of the Third International instructing their agents to intensify hostile propaganda?
§ 12. Mr. MARJORIBANKS
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can yet state the nature and personnel of the machinery set up by His Majesty's Government to inquire into soviet propaganda?
I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to a supplementary question on this subject by the hon. Member on Monday last.
§ Mr. MARJORIBANKS
How long is the right hon. Gentleman going to enshroud in mystery this important tribunal which he is about to set up, and when will he be able to tell the House its personnel?
I thought that I indicated on Monday that I did not intend to announce the personnel to the House for the simple reason that the Government are of opinion that it would do its work very much more effectively—and I think that is what bon. Members opposite are looking for—if the Government keep the personnel in their knowledge.