HC Deb 11 December 1946 vol 431 cc1149-50
41. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the arrest of M. Galaj, M. Szturm de Sztrem and other leaders of the Polish Socialist Party; and whether, in view of the terms of the Potsdam Agreement, he will make suitable representations as to the unfortunate effect of such actions by the Polish Provisional Government on the eve of the elections.

Mr. McNeil

Yes, Sir;, my right hon. Friend's attention has been drawn to these and other arrests. In a Note presented to the Polish Provisional Government in Warsaw on 22nd November by His Majesty's Ambassador, His Majesty's Government made it clear that they would not be able to regard the undertaking given by the Polish Provisional Government to His Majesty's Government at the time of recognition to hold free and unfettered elections as having been fulfilled if, among other things, all democratic parties did not enjoy equal facilities to conduct electoral campaigns freely, without arrest or threat of arrest and without discriminatory restriction of election activities.

My right hon. Friend is concerned at the indications that the weapon of arrest is being used to prejudice the free conduct of the Polish elections, but he does not think that it would be appropriate for His Majesty's Government to intervene in individual cases.

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what the action of the Government will be if these elections take place in Poland under the new electoral law which does not provide for free and unfettered elections?

Mr. McNeil

It would be much better to wait for the elections. Our views on this subject are well known.

Mr. Henry Strauss

Is it not a fact that not only the weapon of arrest but also the weapon of murder is being freely used, and is the Provisional Polish Government one of those which the Foreign Secretary detests?