HC Deb 23 April 1951 vol 487 cc22-3
47. Mr. Keeling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement about the new restrictions imposed in Czechoslovakia on British diplomats.

Mr. Younger

The hon. Member is no doubt referring to the recently imposed regulations restricting contacts between Czechoslovak authorities and the representatives of foreign countries in Czechoslovakia. According to these regulations all matters of foreign policy and foreign trade are to be concentrated in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Czechoslovak State offices and authorities are instructed not to act upon any application or personal intervention on the part of diplomatic missions but to forward all such matters to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Keeling

Can the Minister confirm the report in "The Times" that this restriction applies not only to all diplomats but to all foreigners, even those from Communist countries, and is any protest being made either by the British Ambassador or by the diplomatic corps?

Mr. Younger

I cannot say whether it refers to all private citizens. I understand that it refers to all foreign diplomats without distinction of country. Although this is an inconvenience, it is not really a very drastic restriction. It really means that all foreign relations are to be channelled through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague, which is not altogether unusual.