§ 50 and 51. Mr. M. Lindsay
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) the number of cases in the last two years in which protests have been made to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its associated countries in regard to the treatment of British nationals and employees at British embassies and consulates in those countries; and how many of those cases have been satisfactorily concluded;
(2) if he will tabulate the number of cases in the last two years in which protests have been made to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its associated countries in regard to the treatment of British nationals and employees at British embassies and consulates in those countries; showing what result has been achieved in each case.
§ Following is the information:
The Soviet UnionA memorandum left with Mr. Vyshinsky by Sir Maurice Peterson on 28th April, 1949, of which copies are in the Libraries of the House, recapitulated the following cases of interference with the staff of H.M. Embassy, which had all been the subject of previous protests:
- (1) Mrs. Ackman and Mrs. Whitehead, who were employed as telephonists in H.M. Embassy, disappeared in October, 1948.
- (2) Mrs. Burke, another telephonist, was so intimidated by the police that she attempted suicide.
- (3) Mr. and Mrs. Valukin, who were employees of long standing, left H.M. Embassy precipitately in November, 1948, presumably as a result of police threats.
- (4) Margareta Yost, a housemaid at H.M. Embassy, was threatened, at the end of 1948, with police action if she did not leave.
- (5) Miss Peters, another telephonist at H.M. Embassy, disappeared on 17th January, 1949, after the police had tried to persuade her to leave her employment.
§ Copies of the Soviet reply, dated 20th May, 1949, are also in the Libraries of the House. It rejected the assertions contained in Sir Maurice Peterson's memorandum, and stated that questions about the relations between the Soviet authorities and Soviet citizens could not be the concern of H.M. Embassy, wherever the citizens might work.
§ The remaining case is that of
§ (6) Private Frank Kelly, a British soldier who was arrested in the Soviet Zone of Germany in 1946 and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment for alleged espionage. H.M. Embassy have made repeated representations to the Soviet authorities about him, asking in particular that arrangements should be made for a British representative to visit him but without effect.
BulgariaProtests, all unavailing, have been made to the Bulgarian authorities in connection with the following British persons:
- (1) Commander Cowgill, R.N., Naval Attaché, who was treated discourteously whilst on a visit to Bourgas and Varna, on 28th and 29th May, 1948.
- (2) Mr. E. Manolov, a British missionary in Bulgaria who was arrested on or about the 26th July, 1948, charged with offences under the Bulgarian currency regulations, and was held incommunicado. He was released on 26th March, 1949, after serving a term of imprisonment.
- (3) Mr. J. Adams, British Pro-Consul, who was declared persona non grata by the Bulgarian authorities on the 17th August, 1948, on the ground that he had indulged in black market transactions and espionage.
- (4) Mr. D. Greenhill, First Secretary of H.M. Legation in Sofia, whose recall was demanded by the Bulgarian authorities on the 9th March.
- (5) Mr. Blakeway, First Secretary (Information) at H.M. Legation at Sofia, whose recall was requested by the Bulgarian authorities on the 29th July, 1949, without any reason being given.
- (1) On 24th May, 1948, H.M. Ambassador in Prague protested against the expulsion of Mr. Karl Robson, "News Chronicle" correspondent in Czechoslovakia. The protest was rejected and Mr. Robson expelled.
- (2) On 11th June, 1948, H.M. Ambassador protested against the expulsion of Mr. Alec Lawrenson, "Daily Telegraph" correspondent in Czechoslovakia. No reply was returned to the Note of protest, and Mr. Lawrenson was expelled.
- (3) On 28th September, 1948, H.M. Consul at Bratislava, protested orally to the local authorities against the arrest of Mrs. J. B. Ellis, a British subject by marriage, on a charge of committing a currency offence. Mrs. Ellis was fined and released.
- (4) On 13th October, 1948, H.M. Ambassador protested against charges of espionage publicly made against Group Captain Merton, the Air Attaché at H.M. Embassy. The charges were not retracted, and Group Captain Merton was withdrawn.
- (5) On 18th October, 1948, H.M. Ambassador protested against the arrest of Mr. Wallis, Information Officer at H.M. Embassy. Mr. Wallis was released after a few hours of detention, and the Czechoslovak authorities offered a partial apology for their conduct.
- (6) On 9th December, 1948, H.M. Ambassador protested against the expulsion of Mr. Gillam, British Council lecturer at the University of Olomouc. The protest was rejected and Mr. Gillam expelled.
- (7) On 25th March, 1949, H.M. Ambassador protested against the expulsion of Captain Philip Wildash, British Military Permit Officer in Prague. In a series of Notes, the Czechoslovak Government upheld their charges of anti-state activities against Captain Wildash, who was eventually expelled.
- (8) On 18th October, 1949, H.M. Ambassador protested against the demand for the withdrawal of Mr. Knott, an employee of the Commercial Secretariat of H.M. Embassy. The Czechoslovak Government reiterated their charges against him, and Mr. Knott was withdrawn.
- (9) On 15th December, 1949, H.M. Ambassador entered a formal protest against the detention of Mr. Ernest Robinson, a British resident of long standing in Czechoslovakia. Mr. Robinson, who was only detained for one hour, was released before the protest was delivered, and was expelled from Czechoslovakia.
Hungary.Protests have been made to the Hungarian authorities in connection with the following British persons:
- (1) Mr. K. Elliott, an official of Unilever, Ltd., who was arrested on 26th September, 1948, without justification and held incommunicado. Mr. Elliott was released on 6th October, 1948.
- (2) Mr. W. Harrison, electrician employed at the British Legation, who on 1st July, 1949, was interrogated for four hours under duress. No satisfactory reply was received to a strongly worded Note (and five reminders) deploring this breach of diplomatic immunity. Mr. Harrison subsequently returned to the United Kingdom.
- (3) Mrs. Martin (alias Bone), Hungarian by birth and British by marriage, who disappeared on 1st October, 1949, the day on
855 which she booked a passage by 'plane to Prague. Repeated requests for information both to the Czech and Hungarian Governments have failed to elicit her present whereabouts.
- (4) Mr. Edgar Sanders, a British businessman resident in Hungary, who was arrested on 22nd November, 1949, and held incommunicado despite many protests. Mr. Sanders was tried on a charge of "espionage" and sentenced to 13 years' imprisonment. He was not allowed to be represented by a British lawyer.
- (5) Mr. E. P. Southby. First Secretary Commercial, and
- (6) Lieut.-Colonel Capron, Assistant Military Attaché, who were both "implicated" in the trial of Mr. Sanders, and their recall demanded. Protests were made at this unjustified action but were not effective.
- (7) Mr. C. W. Lamerton, a British businessman resident in Hungary who disappeared on the 11th April, 1950. Repeated enquiries to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs produced no information as to his whereabouts. On 7th May, Mr. Lamerton was forcibly expelled from Hungary into Austria after having been held under arrest for 3½ weeks, incommunicado.
- (1) H.M. Ambassador in Warsaw has made numerous representations to the Polish authorities about the arrest, on 13th May, 1949, of Mrs. Halina Firth. This lady, a British subject by marriage and an employee of H.M. Embassy, was sentenced on 9th March, 1950, to three years' imprisonment for aiding an escaped prisoner. As a result of H.M. Ambassador's repeated representations a British representative was allowed to visit her immediately before the trial.
- (2) Mr. R. J. Tilbury, a British business agent resident in Warsaw, was in August, 1949, refused an agent's licence and an extension of his residence permit. Representations in London and Warsaw were unsuccessful, and Mr. Tilbury had to leave in September, 1949.
- (3) On 21st March, 1950, H.M. Ambassador protested against the behaviour of the Polish authorities in arresting Mr. Otakar Kornhauser, a British subject by naturalisation, holding him incommunicado, for over six weeks, and only admitting that they held him on the day before his release. The Polish reply was unsatisfactory.
Roumania.Protests, all unavailing, have been made to the Roumanian authorities in connection with the following British persons:
- (1) Messrs. Robinson and Watson, members of H.M. Legation in Bucharest, whose recall was demanded by the Roumanian authorities on the 9th December, 1948.
- (2) Mr. Sarell, First Secretary at H.M. Legation at Bucharest and at the time Chargé d'Affaires, who was seized in the streets of Bucharest on the night of 25th July and detained by the Roumanian police for two hours. His recall was subsequently demanded by the Roumanian authorities on the
856 ground that he indulged in activities which were not in accord with his diplomatic status.
- (3) Miss Anne Samuelli, M. Constantin Mugur and Madame Eleanor Bunca, all Roumanian employees of H.M. Legation in Bucharest, were arrested on or about 25th July, 1949. Repeated requests for information about their cases met with no response. They were apparently held in arrest until April, 1950, when they were found guilty of treason and sentenced to varying terms of imprisonment.
§ 53. Mr. John E. Haire
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he has any information with regard to the present whereabouts of Mr. Lamerton, a British subject who disappeared in Budapest in early April last.
§ Mr. Davies
We received no information from the Hungarian authorities, but His Majesty's Legation, having received information of the disappearance of this gentleman, persistently inquired of the Hungarian authorities as to his whereabouts.
§ Mr. Davies
He was questioned for a considerable period, but no specific charge was made against Mr. Lamerton.
§ Mr. Davies
We are making a protest to the Hungarian authorities on several grounds; first, that they forcibly expelled a British subject; secondly, that he was held incommunicado for several days; and, thirdly, that the Hungarian authorities persistently denied knowledge of the whereabouts of Mr. Lamerton.
§ Sir H. Williams
As the Hungarians are vitally dependent on us as their chief market, why do we not hit them where they can understand it?
§ Mr. Davies
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman is not aware that we suspended trade negotiations with Hungary as a reprisal for certain other acts of this kind.