HC Deb 27 March 1950 vol 473 cc32-3
48. Major Tufton Beamish

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the resignation of Mr. R. Daglish, formerly assistant editor in Moscow of "British Alley"; whether he is aware that this resignation, following on the resignation of a previous editor, Mr. Johnstone, in April, 1949, has received wide publicity in the Soviet Union and done much to detract from British prestige; and if he will now give an assurance that no persons known to hold Communist or Marxist views will be employed on the editorial staff of "British Ally" or in any other capacity in the Soviet Union.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Ernest Davies)

Mr. R. Daglish, to whom the hon. and gallant Member refers, arrived in Moscow to take up the appointment of assistant editor of "British Ally" early in January, 1949. Shortly after his arrival, he established a liaison with a Soviet woman, and His Majesty's Ambassador decided that it would be in Mr. Daglish's own interest that he should be sent home and informed him accordingly on 30th July. Instead of complying, Mr. Daglish decided to try to find employment outside the Embassy which would enable him to stay in the Soviet Union. He was then informed that he had, by his own action, in refusing to go home, terminated his contract.

On 9th March, "Pravda" published over Mr. Daglish's signature a string of accusations against His Majesty's Government and His Majesty's Embassy. I cannot believe, however, that the prestige of His Majesty's Government has suffered much from this episode. No persons whose loyalty is known to be questionable are appointed in any capacity to any of His Majesty's Missions abroad.

Major Beamish

Can we have an assurance that no one known to hold Marxist views, as I ask in the Question, will be employed on "British Ally," or in any Communist country?

Mr. Davies

In this case, I think the hon. and gallant Member should be satisfied. Mr. Daglish informed "Pravda" in his statement that he had until recently been a member of the British Conservative Party.

Mr. Porter

Does my hon. Friend agree that the words "Communist" and "Marxist" are not necessarily synonymous?

Mr. de Chair

Is the Under-Secretary aware that the Russians also have a saying, that there is no news in "Truth," which is the meaning of "Pravda," and no truth in "News," which is the meaning of "Izvestia"?