HC Deb 11 March 1935 vol 299 cc5-6
11. Sir W. DAVISON

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the present position with regard to the plate and furniture valued at over £12,000 stolen from the British Embassy in Petrograd in 1918, of which only £475 worth has so far been recovered and restored; whether, as it is now unlikely that any further items will be recovered, the British Government have claimed compensation from the Soviet Government for the outstanding value of the plate and furniture stolen; and what reply has been received from the Soviet Government in respect of this claim?


As regards the first part of the question, I have no information to add to that given to my hon. Friend on the 12th November last. As regards the second part, repeated inquiries have been made of the Soviet Government, but I have nothing to add to previous answers on this subject.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this plate and furniture was taken by officials of the Soviet Government at the time when certain members of the British Embassy staff were imprisoned by them in the State prison, and that therefore it is clearly an obligation of the Soviet Government? Is the right hon. Gentleman going to visit the Soviet Government before this theft of Government property by Soviet Government officials has been dealt with?


I think this is clearly a matter to be dealt with, not by me during my visit, but through the ordinary diplomatic channels.


Did not the right hon. Gentleman receive any information regarding this matter from Sir George Buchanan, the British Ambassador, at the time?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that up to the present diplomatic channels have entirely failed to get any recompense, and will he raise this matter when he goes to Russia?


As I have said, I think this is a matter which should be dealt with through the ordinary diplomatic channels.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this was not only a flagrant theft of plate and furniture, but that they also retained the trousers of the Military Attache?

Forward to