HC Deb 03 April 1947 vol 435 cc2227-8
102. Mr. Gammans

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if steps have been taken at the Conference of Foreign Ministers in Moscow to raise with the Government of the U.S.S.R. the question of granting visas to the Soviet-born wives of British Servicemen and others who are at present being detained in the U.S.S.R.

The Minister of State (Mr. McNeil)

This subject was raised at Moscow by my right hon. Friend, unfortunately without success.

Mr. Gammans

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that these men are never likely to see their wives again, and that this harsh treatment towards British ex-Servicemen who served in Russia during the war makes a complete mockery of the Treaty with Russia and of the friendship which the people of this country have shown towards Russia, and cannot he say what the Government are going to do further about this matter?

Mr. McNeil

Without necessarily agreeing with the implications of what the hon. Member said about the Treaty, I should say that my right hon. Friend takes the gravest view of this unjustifiable behaviour, and has made representations on the highest level on this subject, and will consider if any further steps can be taken.

Earl Winterton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the most intense indignation has been caused, quite irrespective of party, in all parts of the House, and will he take note that some of us, quite irrespective of party, will raise this matter again and again until we get satisfaction?

Major Beamish

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman what reason the Soviet Government gave for refusing to allow these women to come to England?

Mr. McNeil

I should like notice of that question.

Sir I. Fraser

Could not an approach be made to the Russian Parliamentarians who are now here?

Mr. McNeil

I am of the opinion that that is being done

Mr. Gammans

Will the Foreign Secretary, who is in Moscow, point out that it is not merely a question of justice and equity, and also give some idea how indignant people of all classes in England feel about this matter?

Mr. McNeil

My right hon. Friend will doubtless be reinforced by the interest and indignation which, I agree, has been shown in all parts of the House.

Mr. Vane

Has the right hon. Gentleman considered keeping the wives of the Russian Delegation here as a reprisal?