HC Deb 11 May 1949 vol 464 cc1821-2
6. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in how many cases His Majesty's Government's consular or diplomatic agents have refused to grant a visa to an American senator or representative; when, and for what reasons; and how far it is the practice of such agents to make inquiries into the political opinions of members of the Legislatures of Allied countries or to subject them to any form of political test in peace time before granting them visas to visit Britain.

Mr. Bevin

I am not aware of any cases in which a visa for the United Kingdom has been refused to an American senator or representative. Members of foreign legislatures are dealt with in the same manner as other foreign visitors to the United Kingdom. No special tests are made as to a person's political opinions before granting him an entry visa for the United Kingdom.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Does not my right hon. Friend think that it will do a great deal to promote the spread of common sense in the world if at least the English-speaking peoples allow the members of other legislatures to travel quite freely between the countries which they represent and stop the imposition of bans and that kind of thing? May I have an answer?

Mr. Sorensen

Does not this demonstrate that our democracy is superior to that of America?

Mr. Bevin

I think that the problem is slightly different.

Mr. Harold Davies

Will my right hon. Friend, in view of the fact that he once said that he would like to be able to go to Victoria and take a ticket to where the hell he liked—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—endeavour to use his good offices to prevent the American Embassy using secret dossiers on Members of this honourable House?

Mr. Speaker

One must not make these charges against a country in amity with us.