§ 3. Mr. Silverman
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information that the Republic of Finland has broken off diplomatic relations with Great Britain; whether Finland is now at war with an Ally, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, whose territory she has invaded; whether he has any statement to make; and what is the position of British subjects and British interests in Finland?
§ Mr. Eden
I am glad of this opportunity of making a statement on Anglo-Finnish relations. As the House will be aware, His Majesty's Government announced as recently as 22nd July that they had decided to maintain diplomatic relations with the Finnish Government. On 1st August, however, the Finnish Minister called to inform me that his Government had decided to recall him and to suspend for the time being the activities of the Finnish Legation in London. His Majesty's Government deeply regret that the Finnish Government, acting no doubt under German 1923 pressure, have seen fit thus to take the initiative in breaking off diplomatic relations. Most of the British subjects who wished to leave Finland, including the majority of those who had offered their services to the Finnish Government at the time of the Finno-Soviet war, left Finland for Sweden before relations were severed. Arrangements are under discussion with the Finnish Government for the return of His Majesty's Minister and his staff to this country. The United States Minister at Helsinski has assumed charge of British interests in Finland, including the interests of those British subjects who have elected to remain. The Finnish Minister has given me an assurance that the Finnish Government regard themselves as in honour bound to provide for the British volunteers.
§ Mr. Silverman
In view of the fact that a Finnish Army is fighting side by side with German troops on Russian territory, what is the purpose in supposing that Finland is acting under German pressure? Is she not a voluntary Ally of Germany in a war against a voluntary Ally of this country?
§ Mr. Shinwell
Why does not my right hon. Friend answer the main Question? Why do we not suspend or break off diplomatic relations with Finland?
§ Mr. Shinwell
Do I understand that we have informed the Finnish Government that diplomatic relations have been broken off?
§ Mr. Thorne
What will become of British subjects who have left Finland and are now in Spain? Will there be any difficulty about them?
§ Mr. R. J. Taylor
I understood my right hon. Friend to say that most of the British nationals left Finland before diplomatic relations were broken off. Does that not imply that there are still some left, and can he say what is happening to them?