HC Deb 01 May 1950 vol 474 cc1407-8
50. Mr. Blackburn

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what answer he has received from the Soviet Embassy in reply to his protest concerning the disappearance of a number of Soviet officials from the Embassy

Mr. Ernest Davies

No such protest was made. As I informed the hon. Member for Solihull (Mr. M. Lindsay) on 27th March, an inquiry was being addressed to the Soviet Embassy. The answer shows that at the time of the reply 87 persons in all were employed on the Embassy staff. Since that date two further departures and three new arrivals have been notified by the Embassy. The present number is, therefore, 88.

Mr. Blackburn

Is it not a fact that the Foreign Office believed the number to be very much in excess of 87; and can my hon. Friend say that he is satisfied that our security service knows when Soviet officials leave this country and what happens to Soviet officials when they leave the Embassy?

Mr. Davies

In reply to the hon. Member for Solihull on 27th March, I stated that the number was roughly half. We believed it to be about half the number of which we had been informed earlier, which was 187. We do not consider that the difference between 88 and 93 is a very great discrepancy.

Mr. Blackburn

Does that mean to say that we have no precise check on the number of officials at the Soviet Embassy? Surely, we ought to know how many are there.

Captain Ryder

Can the hon. Gentleman say if the people who are missing still enjoy diplomatic privileges?

Mr. Davies

That does not arise on this Question.