HC Deb 21 January 1948 vol 446 cc198-200
33. Professor Savory

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of Clause 3 of the Treaty with Bulgaria, he has made any protest at Sofia against the threats made by the Prime Minister to the Leaders of the Opposition that if they continue their criticisms of the Budget, they will undergo the same treatment as that of Petkov, the late Leader of the Opposition.

38. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the statement by the Bulgarian Prime Minister to the effect that the killing of the late M. Petkov was the direct consequence of the intervention on his behalf of His Majesty's and other democratic governments; and whether he is satisfied that any useful purpose is served by continued recognition of or relations with a Government capable of the conduct admitted to by the Bulgarian Prime Minister.

Mr. McNeil

My right hon. Friend has studied the revealing statement of M. Dimitrov, and particularly his reference to Petkov. The tone of M. Dimitrov's speech does not lead my right hon. Friend to expect that protests under the Human Rights Clauses of the Treaty with Bulgaria would be effective at present. We consider nevertheless that on balance the advantage lies in keeping a post in Sofia, particularly since His Majesty's Minister is charged with certain supervisory duties under the Peace Treaty.

Professor Savory

Has the right hon. Gentleman not called the attention of the. Government to the fact that they have guaranteed the right of free speech and opinion?

Mr. McNeil

I have no reason to believe that the Bulgarian Government do not know their obligations under the Treaty which they negotiated.

Mr. Gallacher

Are these two questions, and the report that appeared in some sections of the Press, not a gross and grotesque misrepresentation of the speech that was made by the Prime Minister of Bulgaria?

Mr. McNeil

I must say that I was so surprised by the Press reports that, although I did not doubt them, I naturally took the normal method of getting as full a text of the speech as I could. I did not find that there was any inconsistency between the abbreviated Press reports and the text available to me.

Mr. Gallacher

On a point of Order. I want to ask you, Sir, whether, in view of this malicious statement, it is possible to get this speech put into the Library. I will guarantee that it is a gross and grotesque misrepresentation.

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of Order.

Mr. John McKay

Can the Minister say whether this new policy adopted by the Prime Minister of Bulgaria—

Mr. Gallacher

It is a lie.

Mr. McKay

—is the new political philosophy that the Labour Party is expected to follow abroad?

Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

Would the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that the supervisory duties to which he has referred, which should be exercisable by His Majesty's Government in Bulgaria, will not go by default?

Mr. McNeil

It is scarcely a subject which I could pursue by question and answer. Opportunity might be afforded in the Debate this week to say a little more about it.

Mr. Henry Usborne

Would it be possible to put in the Library a copy of this speech?

Mr. Gallacher

I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to do it.

Mr. McNeil

I will consider whether a translation of the text that is available to me might suitably be placed in the Library.

Major Beamish

Is the Minister aware that if M. Lulchev and his half-a-dozen gallant Social Democrat followers in Bulgaria are actually liquidated, it will be the end of the last remnants of the Social Democrat Parties in Eastern Europe that have dared to oppose Communism?