HC Deb 14 July 1947 vol 440 cc9-10
13. Major Mott-Radclyffe

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Bulgarian Government has been able to give to His Majesty's political representative on the Control Commission in Sofia any further indication as to how soon the necessary investigations will be completed in order to bring to trial General Stanchev and M. Petkov. respectively.

Mr. McNeil

The British political representative has received no information about the date of either of these trials.

Major Mott-Radclyffe

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that in the case of General Stanchev, 13 months should be sufficient time to formulate charges in order to bring him to trial, and that in the case of M. Petkov the longer the trial is postponed, the greater the growth of suspicion of the circumstances in which he was arrested?

Mr. McNeil

I do not disagree for a second. My conclusion is that no civilised country behaves as this country behaves towards both of these men, against neither of whom a charge is being prepared.

Professor Savory

Is it not possible to call the attention of this Government to Article 3 of the Treaty which it has signed, for this is a flagrant violation of that Treaty?

Mr. McNeil

That is so, but, unfortunately, the Treaty is not yet ratified and, therefore, not operative.

Mr. Mack

In view of the assurance given by the Foreign Minister of Bulgaria that this trial will be a free and open one and will be open to inspection by outside journalists and other interests, is it not a piece of unwarrantable presumption on the part of my right hon. Friend to infer in his remarks that this is an uncivilised country?

Mr. McNeil

The point is not whether the trial is open or not, but whether there should be a trial or not, and until we have the charge it will make it impossible to come to any conclusion on that subject.