§ 5. Mr. GOLDIE
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to a lecture recently delivered by Professor Harold Laski, of the University of London, to the Communist Academy at Moscow; 307 whether a passport or permit was granted by his Department to the professor in order to enable him to visit the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; and whether, in applying for such passport or permit, Professor Laski stated as his reason for such proposed visit his intention to deliver such lecture, or, if not, what reason was given in so applying?
§ Sir J. SIMON
I have seen a Press report of the discourse to which my hon. Friend refers. Professor Laski's present passport was issued in 1932 in renewal of a passport which he had previously held, and was then endorsed, as has been the general practice for some years, as valid for journeys to all countries in Europe, including the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Turkey. No special facilities for travelling to Russia are necessary, nor was my Department asked for any on this occasion.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that this lecture was not delivered to the Communist Academy but to the Institute of Socialist Law and consisted of a defence of parliamentary government; and that it was followed by a five hours' attack on Professor Laski?
§ Mr. ATTLEE
Arising out of the reference to my having special means of information, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to read the correspondence column of the "Daily Telegraph"?
§ 30. Captain P. MACDONALD
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been called to a lecture on the prospects of revolution 308 in Great Britain delivered in Russia last week by Professor Harold Laski, of the London School of Economics; and whether, in view of the fact that this school is supported by a grant from His Majesty's Government, he will take steps to indicate that the said grant is not given with the object of facilitating activities of this kind?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Duff Cooper)
My attention has been called to reports in the Press of this lecture. As regards the second part of the question, the London School of Economics does not receive a grant directly from the Government. The University of London receives an annual block grant, paid on the advice of the University Grants Committee, and from this source and others at its disposal makes allocations to its various constituent schools and colleges. It does not seem to me to be necessary to take any action of the nature suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend.
§ Captain MACDONALD
Is it not the fact that this Professor Laski is an avowed Communist as well as being of alien origin, and will the hon. Member say why he should be allowed such facilities as are provided frequently by the British Broadcasting Corporation as well as the London School of Economics to spread his poisonous propaganda?
§ Sir STAFFORD CRIPPS
Is the hon. Member aware that the Charter of the London School of Economics expressly provides for complete freedom for professors and lecturers to express their political opinions outside the school, and will he resist the obvious tendency to try to curtail this freedom?
§ Sir WILLIAM DAVISON
Is it not a fact that the professor in question collaborates with the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken?
§ Mr. MAXTON
Is not the gentleman referred to in the question a perfectly respectable member of the party which composes His Majesty's official Opposition?