HC Deb 05 April 1950 vol 473 cc1170-2
14. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs during what period were Major Peter Wright, Major James Klugman, Mrs. Betty Wallace and Mr. Kenneth Svers employed on British missions abroad; and when were their appointments terminated.

Mr. Younger

Major Peter Wright was employed as Assistant Military Attaché at Belgrade from January, 1945, to October, 1947. Major Norman John Klugman (also known as James Klugman) was sent by His Majesty's Government to Yugoslavia in late 1944 with a military liaison mission. The duties of this mission were taken over by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, to which Major Klugman was transferred in April, 1945, and with which he continued to serve until 1946. Mrs. Betty Wallace is understood also to have served in the U.N.R.R.A. Mission to Yugoslavia; she was at no time employed by His Majesty's Government.

At the end of 1943, when Yugoslavia was occupied by German forces, Mr. Kenneth Syers was seconded from the R.A.F., in which he held a commission, and undertook a mission to Marshal Tito with the hon. and gallant Member for Lancaster (Mr. F. Maclean). He stayed in Yugoslavia until October, 1944.

Sir W. Smithers

Can the Minister say what steps, if any, were taken to ensure that the four persons mentioned in the Question were not Communist agents either before or during their service?

Mr. Younger

I think I can say that His Majesty's Government are satisfied that in none of these cases was anything done which was contrary to the national interest. The hon. Member will have observed that there is only one out of these four cases in which the appointment under His Majesty's Government continued after the end of the war.

Mr. Pickthorn

Are we to conclude from the last part of the hon. Gentleman's answer that he thinks that persons in the employ, or who had been in the employ, of the Comintern could not do damage to the national interest during the war, and is it not a fact that Mr. Syers, before the appointment of which the Minister of State has just told us, had been in charge of Intelligence at Bari and that at the same time Major Klugman was the person in charge at Cairo, so that through the hands of these two men there came or did not come any information from Yugoslavia?

Mr. Speaker

That is giving information, not asking a question.

Sir W. Smithers

If we cannot get an answer to that question, I will ask Question No. 15.