HC Deb 05 June 1940 vol 361 cc826-7
3. Mr. J. J. Davidson

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make regarding the appointment and mission of the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps)?

Mr. Butler

His Majesty's Government have asked the Soviet Government for their agrément to the appointment of the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol as His Majesty's Ambassador at Moscow in succession to Sir William Seeds. No official reply has yet been received through His Majesty's Chargé ďAffaires at Moscow, but it appears from an official Soviet communiqué issued last night that the Soviet Government accept the appointment.

Mr. Davidson

Can the Under-Secretary indicate what were the reasons for not making this a clear and concise appointment at the very start, instead of trying to get around it by some small niggling way and thus creating suspicion?

Mr. Butler

There was never any suggestion of any such small or niggling attitude and the appointment was always intended to be clear and concise. The exact designation of the hon. and learned Gentleman's status was intended to suit his particular position.

Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

Is it intended in future always to appoint politicians of suitable colour?

Mr. Butler

It is always our intention to select the best man.

Mr. Thurtle

Is it not a fact that the appointment of the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol is welcomed by the whole country and that the whole country is glad Russia has accepted him?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir.

Sir Patrick Hannon

Will the hon. and learned Member continue to be a Member of this House, or will his seat be resigned after acceptance?

Sir Cooper Rawson

Will the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol deal with the questions of the many claims outstanding against the Soviet Government?

Mr. Butler

In answer to the hon. Member for the Moseley Division of Birmingham (Sir P. Hannon), if he will put a Question down I shall be very glad to give him a detailed answer on the whole position.