HC Deb 19 January 1949 vol 460 c155
23. Mr. Hollis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what instructions have been given to His Majesty's diplomatic representatives abroad warning them not to consort with reactionary elements in the countries to which they are accredited; and what definition has been given of the term "reactionary."

Mr. McNeil

It is true that guidance was given to certain of our diplomatic representatives that they should be chary of accepting as reputable organisations whose primary distinction was that they were anti-Communist. The Oxford Dictionary defines "reactionary" as politically retrograde, and I would not seek to improve on that.

Mr. Hollis

Can the right hon. Gentleman make it clear whether he called the attention of representatives abroad to the sense in which he was using the word "reactionary," or not?

Mr. McNeil

I should think that is the normal use of the word accepted by all except those who feel a little guilty about its use.

Mr. Molson

Is it not the case that in the opinion of many people those to whom representatives are accredited regard the Foreign Secretary as an instrument of reaction?

Mr. Michael Foot

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Department are considering issuing instructions to members of the Foreign Office to refrain from associating with reactionary elements in this country as well?