HC Deb 09 October 1946 vol 427 cc173-4
17. Mr. Quintin Hogg

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what information he has regarding the recent attack on M. Pinescu and the murder of M. Mihai; and, in view of the guarantee contained in the draft treaty with Rumania that Rumania shall take all measures necessary to secure to all persons under Rumanian jurisdiction the fundamental freedoms, what steps he proposes to take.

Mr. McNeil

As the answer to the Question is necessarily long, I will, with the hon. Gentleman's consent, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Hogg

In congratulating the right hon. Gentleman on his well deserved promotion, may I ask if he will answer these two specific points: Is there any truth in the allegation that the police in these dastardly and wicked murderous attempts on people's lives were actually ordered to collaborate in the assassination; and, second, have His Majesty's Government taken any steps to express their dissatisfaction at the want of safety for human life in Rumania at present?

Mr. McNeil

I greatly regret that there is, in my opinion, evidence that the police connived in this exceedingly distasteful incident. Secondly, my right hon. Friend spoke very bluntly indeed to the Rumanian Foreign Secretary on this subject while in Paris some three weeks ago.

Following is the answer:

According to the reports which I have received, the incident in question took place at a meeting of a National Peasant Party County Committee on 9th August in the village of Pitesti. The Minister of the Interior had been informed by Mr. Penescu, as Secretary-General of the National Peasant Party, that this meeting would take place and had promised to take measures for the maintenance of order. Despite this assurance lorryloads of Communist supporters carrying firearms and metal clubs were permitted to enter the village and to assault members of the committee. Mr. Mihai, the Secretary of the county organisation attempted to escape through a window and was shot dead in doing so. While attempting to follow him Mr. Penescu fractured his leg and was then beaten about the head and left for dead after losing consciousness. There is evidence. I regret to have to state, that the police had received orders to collaborate in this assassination. One other member of the Peasant Party was killed.

Since the draft treaty of peace with Rumania is not yet in force the provisions of the article designed to secure fundamental freedom to the people of Rumania are not yet binding on the Government of that country. Nevertheless, His Majesty's Government have for long been dissatisfied with the absence of political freedom in Rumania and have drawn the attention of the Rumanian Government to this in the notes presented by the United Kingdom Political Representative in Bucharest on 27th May and on 14th June. On 7th September my right hon. Friend received the Rumanian Minister for Foreign Affairs in Paris and informed him in blunt terms that His Majesty's Government were dissatisfied at the considerable number of incidents of this kind taking place in Rumania with the connivance of the Rumanian Government and in contravention of the undertaking to assure liberty of speech and freedom of association given by the Prime Minister of Rumania to His Majesty's Government in January of this year.

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