HC Deb 19 June 1950 vol 476 cc865-6
64. Mr. Clement Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information about the recent political trial in Czechoslovakia at which certain charges were brought against British officials and subjects; and whether His Majesty's Government has made any representations, or proposes to make any representations, to the Government of Czechoslovakia with regard thereto.

Mr. Ernest Davies

The information I have received from His Majesty's Embassy at Prague generally bears out the accounts of this trial which have appeared in the Press. These trumped-up treason trials have become a sickeningly familiar feature of life behind the Iron Curtain. They are designed to serve the duel purpose of liquidating opponents of the Communist régimes and, at the same time, of discouraging all contacts by the people of the countries concerned with Western diplomatic missions.

I need hardly assure the House that these charges that present or past members of His Majesty's Embassy at Prague have engaged in activity inconsistent with their diplomatic status are unfounded. His Majesty's Government therefore take a very serious view of a request just received in a Note from the Czechoslovak Government for the withdrawal of a Secretary of His Majesty's Embassy at Prague on the ground of activities against the Czechoslovak State which are alleged to have been proved at the trial. A reply to the Czechoslovak Note is under consideration, but I am not in a position to make any further statement at present.

Mr. Davies

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that partly as a result of these trumped-up, unfounded and farcical charges men and women of integrity, some of them with an international reputation, have been sentenced to death by these sadistic fiends? Is there nothing that we can do to try to save them?

Mr. Ernest Davies

I can assure the House and the right hon. and learned Gentleman that His Majesty's Government utterly deplore these political trials, which are directed against people who have loyally served the cause of freedom. We regret very much that circumstances in that country prevent a genuine opposition, and that any attempted opposition is met in this way.

Mr. Henry Strauss

Was the character of the Czechoslovak Government, which is shown by the examples given in these Questions and Answers, perfectly well-known to His Majesty's Government at the time they supported the candidature of that country for the Security Council?

Sir Herbert Williams

Will the hon. Gentleman say why the Minister of Food has continued to import food from this disreputable country?