HC Deb 06 June 1951 vol 488 cc979-80
8. Mr. J. R. Bevins

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affiairs how many persons have been issued with passports for China since 1st April, 1951.

Mr. H. Morrison

No record is kept of the number of persons travelling to different countries, or of the countries for which individual passports are made available. I am therefore unable to say how many persons have obtained passports for China during any specified period.

Mr. Bevins

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, during the period referred to, at least four prominent members of the British Communist Party have visited the Communist leaders in China? [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Does the right hon. Gentleman not think it is a shameful thing that, when British lives are being lost in Korea, these men should be allowed to confer with their opposite numbers there?

Mr. Morrison

I think that is running the argument a bit far. We have never laid it down that members of the Communist Party cannot go anywhere. In fact, I am in favour of quite a lot of them going somewhere. As a matter of fact, the Chinese authorities could have admitted them without passports. I understand that the number of the party is probably less than 10, so there is no danger of an extension of the social revolution breaking out.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

As these people who go off are heartily in sympathy with the Chinese Government and with the Russian Government as well, does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that we should let them stay there?

Mr. Morrison

I am glad to note that the hon. and gallant Member disagrees with his hon. Friend who put the Question.