HC Deb 09 October 1946 vol 427 cc177-8
22. Mr. Piratin

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that in the form of application for a visit to Hungary there is a question as to ethnical origin; what is the meaning of this question; and what is its purpose.

Mr. McNeil

I do not know the purpose of this question relating to the ethnical origin of the applicant. It is inserted in the application form to comply with the regulations of the governing authorities who control the issue of entry permits to Hungary. The governing authority in this case is, of course, the Soviet.

Mr. Piratin

Does the right hon. Gentleman tell the House, therefore, that he takes instructions from a foreign Government without knowing their purpose?

Mr. McNeil

Yes, Sir. We are so anxious—and I say this most sincerely— to collaborate with our Allies, that in these administrative matters it would be unreasonable and unfriendly if we questioned every minor directive.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Does my right hon. Friend think that any more harm would be done to international relations if some inquiry was directed to show what is the reason for so obviously unreasonable a request?

Mr. McNeil

I would not care to say it was so unreasonable until I know the facts. Under pressure from my hon. Friend, who is an authority on this subject and who is extremely reasonable, I will find out the facts, if I can, and communicate with him.

Major Tufton Beamish

Apart from the fact that this Question seems to be unnecessary and undesirable, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that it places those who either do not know their origin or who do not want others to know it in a very difficult position?

Mr. McNeil

I thought we were talking about ethnical and not political origin.