HC Deb 07 December 1932 vol 272 cc1594-5

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government have fully considered the report of the British Ambassador in Moscow concerning the instructions recently issued by the Third International to the British Communist party to form nuclei in military units and similar organisations, and to the Communist party of India to support non-payment of rents and taxes and organise a general strike; and, in view of the fact that the promise to abstain from propaganda has been officially held to include the activities of the Third International, can he now state what action he proposes to take in the matter?


This answer is rather long, but I thought that the House would like a full answer.

His Majesty's Government have fully considered the reports which have been received from the British Ambassador at Moscow on this matter, as well as on the allegations made on the 13th of November last by the Soviet Government newspaper "Izvestia," that the Foreign Office had instructed their agents to furnish documents, real or bogus, establishing the connection between the Soviet Government and the Communist International.

As a result, my right hon. Friend requested the Soviet Ambassador to come and see him on the 28th of November last, and pointed out to His Excellency that various matters of difficulty and complexity, particularly in relation to trade between the Soviet Union and this country, would shortly arise for discussion between the two Governments. If the Soviet Government wished these matters to be discussed in the usual manner as between Governments in friendly relations, they must apologise for the language of the "Izvestia" article, and also take steps to ensure that no further statements of the kind referred to in my hon. and gallant Friend's question should be made in future.

It was emphasised to M. Maisky that future indulgence in these tactics would only confuse the issue between commercial negotiations and propaganda, and render the former, which should be treated on their merits, impossible of conclusion. My right hon. Friend added that, as previous assurances given on behalf of His Majesty's Government had been ignored, he would repeat finally and categorically that the policy of His Majesty's Government is to promote trade relations on a permanent and stable basis and that they expect the Soviet Government to state clearly in their reply to these representations what is their policy towards this country. Since then His Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow has held similar language to the Soviet Government. My right hon. Friend has now received an oral reply from the Soviet Ambassador which is at present under consideration.

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