HC Deb 23 October 1946 vol 427 cc1642-3
19. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has considered the letter sent him by the Archbishop of Westminster concerning the recent trial of, and sentences on, Archbishop Stepinac and others; and what reply has been sent.

Mr. Bevin

; I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on this subject on 21st October to the hon. Members for Devizes (Mr. Hollis) and North Salford (Mr. McAdam).

Mr. Stokes

Having read that reply, may I ask my right hon. Friend to consider making representations to the Yugoslav Government, in view of the fact that the archbishop was our constant ally in 1941, during the worst of the crisis, and thereafter, at a time when the Orthodox Church, which is now comme il faut with the Tito Government, was shaking hands with Mussolini; and will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the evidence brought against the archbishop would have been turned down in any decent court of law?

Mr. Bevin

I am going through all the papers that have been forwarded.

Mr. Hale

In view of the real alarm among His Majesty's Catholic subjects, about this unhappy trial, will my right hon. Friend do his utmost to see that the fullest facts are presented for consideration by His Majesty's Government?

Sir Patrick Hannon

Has the Foreign Secretary received any report from His Majesty's Ambassador in Belgrade on this savage trial which took place before the tribunal in Yugoslavia?

Mr. Bevin

I have seen reports, but I have asked for a very full report on the whole of the circumstances.

Mr. Logan

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the consternation in the Northern part of this country in regard to this trial, and as we have made representations for other persons in many countries, is it not possible for representations to be made for a Catholic archbishop?

Mr. Bevin

That is quite true, but I must be sure of the facts.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

On a point of Order. The hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) included in his supplementary question just now an attack on another branch of the Church. Is not that to be deprecated?

Mr. Speaker

This is a difficult matter; after all, we have no right to interfere with trials of non-British subjects in a foreign country.