HC Deb 06 July 1949 vol 466 cc2129-30
18. Mr. Eric Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what complaints he has received from the Czechoslovak Government in connection with their request for Mr. Godfrey Lias, "The Times" correspondent, to leave Prague.

Mr. Bevin

No complaints were made either to me or to His Majesty's Embassy in Prague about Mr. Lias.

Mr. Fletcher

May we assume from this expulsion of a very distinguished journalist that the Czechoslovak Government does not permit any free and objective reporting of events occurring in that country?

Mr. Bevin

I understand the hint was given for this man to go, and that he did not contest it and went. No representations have been made to me, however, and I do not know the exact circumstances.

Mr. Wilson Harris

Does the right hon. Gentleman know of any feature of totalitarianism as practised in Russia which has not been adopted by the present Czechoslovak Government?

Major Tufton Beamish

Is not the Czechoslovak Government's fear of the truth a sufficient reason for the action they have taken?

Mr. Bevin

They certainly do not allow free reporting, and the censorship is very strong. That is true of all the countries behind the Iron Curtain.