HC Deb 20 November 1941 vol 376 cc463-4
Mr. Pethick-Lawrence (by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make with regard to reports that M. Litvinov and his party were refused passages on a British aeroplane at Teheran.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Richard Law)

Yes, Sir. I have this morning received a report from His Majesty's Minister at Teheran from which there appears to have been an unfortunate misunderstanding as a result of which the departure of M. Litvinov and his party was delayed. The exact circumstances are still being investigated by His Majesty's Minister, who at once tendered his personal apologies to M. Litvinov and to the Soviet Ambassador at Teheran. I am glad to have this opportunity of saying how much His Majesty's Government regret the unintentional discourtesy to our Russian Ally and M. Litvinov involved in this most unfortunate occurrence.

Mr. Silverman

Can the hon. Gentleman give the House any further information as to the nature of the misunderstanding; was it not known at the airfield that he was the Russian Ambassador to the United States?

Mr. Law

I have nothing to add. The circumstances are being investigated.