HC Deb 12 April 1937 vol 322 cc584-5
3. Captain Ramsay

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that a number of free courses at universities in Moscow have been given to Indian students on the understanding that they return to India as Communist missionaries; and how many of these students have returned to India during the last 10 years?

Mr. Butler

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, I am unable to give exact figures, but I understand that between 40 and 50 of these students have returned within the last two years. The number who returned during the previous eight years was very small.

Captain Ramsay

Are students still going to Moscow and taking part in these courses; and if so, is the hon. Gentleman taking steps to make it clear that His Majesty's Government in India do not appreciate this procedure?

Mr. Butler

The majority of these students have been traced by the authorities since their return. Some have been arrested and others kept under strict surveillance. As regards making representations, I do not think at the present time any useful purpose would be served by doing so.

Mr. Paling

Has not Tory propaganda been going on in India for generations; and why be so squeamish in this case?

Mr. Butler

I sincerely hope there has been such propaganda.

Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

Is this action by the Soviet Government to be considered a friendly action?

Mr. Gallacher

Why are these people being arrested?

Mr. Butler

They have not been treated in a friendly manner on their return, and the Government do not approve of the propaganda in which they indulge.