HC Deb 11 December 1946 vol 431 cc1148-9
40. Mr. Edelman

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what representations he has received from the French Government concerning the visit of Dr. Schumacher to this country.

Mr. McNeil

The French Ambassador called at the Foreign Office to express concern on behalf of his Government that His Majesty's Government should have given an official reception for Dr. Schumacher.

Mr. Edelman

Will my right hon. Friend make it clear that Dr. Schumacher's reception was intended as a tribute to German social democracy, and that in no sense was it evidence of a desire to favour German interests to the detriment of those of our Allies?

Mr. McNeil

I did make it plain to the French Ambassador that various tributes had been handed to social democrats of many countries, including Germany.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Will the right hon. Gentleman remember, if it is intended to fete German leaders, that the Christian democrats actually won 1,000 more seats than the party represented by these particular gentlemen?

Mr. McNeil

We have made no discrimination in these matters. The facts of this case are that these gentlemen were invited by the Labour Party. It would have been inappropriate if His Majesty's Government had not officially noticed their arrival.

Mr. Eden

While I am not complaining of private invitations, I hope the Government will bear in mind that it is quite essential that these invitations should be known to be private, and not appear to have an official complexion because for the moment there happens to be a Labour Government on those benches.

Mr. McNeil

I repeat that no discrimination has existed. Social democrats from many of the European countries, liberated and ex-enemy, have been here, and I suggest that it would be inappropriate if we did not recognise them here.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind also that many of us were proud to welcome to this country people, especially people from Germany, who had spent 10 years fighting Hitler, when many hon. Members of this House were supporting him?