HC Deb 04 February 1943 vol 386 cc1049-50
46. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Prime Minister whether Russia was consulted before the decision to hold a conference at Casablanca was made; and why no Russian representatives, either military or civil, were present at the conversations?

Mr. Attlee

My hon. Friend will see from the communiqué issued after the Casablanca Conference that Mr. Stalin was invited to join President Roosevelt and the Prime Minister in a conference at a place convenient to himself, but was unable, for reasons which can readily be appreciated, to accept. In these circumstances the conference was held at Casablanca, which in other respects was more convenient.

Mr. Bellenger

I am well aware of what was stated in the communiqué, but will the right hon. Gentleman say whether there were prior consultations with the Russians and whether they were invited to a conference of this nature; and can he give the real reason why there were no military or civil representatives of Russia at the conference?

Mr. Attlee

In reply to the first part of the Supplementary Question, the answer is, "Yes." With regard to the second part, that is really a matter for the decision of the Soviet Government rather than a question for us.

Mr. Shinwell

If Stalin, for good and sufficient reasons, found himself unable to attend a conference at Casablanca or elsewhere, were the Soviet Government asked to send other representatives, military or diplomatic, to attend the conference; and in particular why was it that in the case of the conference that was arranged with the Turkish Government, so important from the Russian standpoint, Russians were not invited to attend? Is there no answer to that?