HC Deb 18 October 1950 vol 478 cc2023-4
11. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in view of the fact that top secrets, including Operation Overlord, were stolen from our Embassy in Turkey and transmitted to the Germans, whether an inquiry has taken place; what has been the result; and what instructions have been issued to prevent a repetition.

Mr. Bevin

No such documents were actually stolen from His Majesty's Embassy in Ankara during the war. But an inquiry into the occurrences to which the hon. Member refers revealed that the Ambassador's valet succeeded in photographing a number of highly secret documents in the Embassy and selling the films to the Germans. He would not have been able to do this if the Ambassador had conformed to the regulations governing the custody of secret documents. New instructions have since been issued to all concerned and other measures have been taken to prevent such a leakage occurring again.

Mr. Shepherd

Is it not a fact that the statements published in the book in which this question arose caused a good deal of public anxiety; and if it was the case that the Overlord plans were not in fact stolen, why did not the Foreign Office issue a denial of the statement?

Mr. Bevin

The actual document was not stolen. I admitted that a photograph was taken, which is the same thing.

Mr. Paton

For what reason are the details of highly secret military operations submitted to ambassadors in countries like Turkey?

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that secret documents are even being stolen from Buckingham Palace; and does he think we are getting value for the money we are spending on the Secret Service?