§ 9. Mr. Piratin
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that Mr. R. P. Dutt was refused permission to attend the Conference of the Socialist Unity Party in Berlin by order of the Commander-in-Chief Germany; what are the powers of the Commander-in-Chief; and whether these include the right to interfere in the political rights of British civilians.
§ Mr. Mayhew
The powers of the Commander-in-Chief are exercised on instructions from His Majesty's Government, and my right hon. Friend supported the refusal of facilities in this case. As the hon. Member is aware, facilities can be granted for visits to the British zone of Germany and to the British sector of Berlin whenever it is considered that such visits would serve the purposes of the occupation. It was not felt that the visit in question satisfied this condition.
§ Mr. Piratin
Will the Minister note the support which is being given by the Opposition to the prevention of democratic rights? Would he explain why it is that permission has been granted to Labour Party representatives to go to Berlin from the British zone while Communist representatives are not allowed to do so?
§ Mr. Stokes
Before my hon. Friend answers that question, may I ask is he aware that repeated applications made by myself to the Soviet authorities to visit concentration camps in the Russian occupied zone have been refused?
§ Mr. Piratin
On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in Order for a matter to be raised which is rightly the responsibility of the Soviet Government, and may I have an answer to my question?
§ Mr. Speaker
Not necessarily. The Minister is quite entitled not to answer if he so chooses. As I said, I think we had better get on to the next Question.