HC Deb 21 February 1951 vol 484 cc1259-60
1. Professor Savory

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the official request of the Polish Government that certain members of the British Embassy should be withdrawn from Warsaw: and what were the charges brought against them by the Polish Government.

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

In a Note dated 18th December, 1950, the Polish Government demanded the withdrawal from Poland within three days of His Majesty's Vice-Consul at Gdansk, Colonel R. Hazell, and a Second Secretary at His Majesty's Embassy at Warsaw, Mr. E. Gilbert. It was alleged that evidence given at the trial in Warsaw of Group Captain Turner, a former Air Attaché at His Majesty's Embassy, had shown these two British officials to have been engaged in activities constituting an abuse of diplomatic and consular privileges. His Majesty's Government had no option but to comply with the Polish demand. In rejecting as unfounded the charges brought against Colonel Hazell and Mr. Gilbert, His Majesty's Government felt obliged to request as a measure of reprisal, that two members of the Polish Mission in London be recalled within three days.

Professor Savory

Was not the Polish request based entirely upon the four hours' evidence given by this gentleman, Claude Henry Turner? How was it that a British Air Attaché came into open court and gave such amazing evidence against these British officials?

Mr. Davies

As I think the hon. Gentleman is aware the Air Attaché was accused of abducting a Polish woman on board ship to bring her to England, and he was tried in a Polish court. As I have already said, we did not and cannot accept the evidence, but I think that the actual charge was in order.

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

Did the Polish Government comply with the British Government's request about withdrawing two of their Mission's personnel?

Mr. Davies

Yes, Sir: within three days.

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