HC Deb 30 May 1951 vol 488 cc191-3
12. Dr. King

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make on the re-emergence of the Nazis in Germany, as the Socialist Reich Party, which polled nearly a quarter of a million votes in the Lower Saxony elections.

20. Brigadier Medlicott

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the reappearance of the Nazi Party in Germany and the policy of His Majesty's Government in relation to this development.

10. Mr. George Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the re-emergence of the Nazi Party in Western Germany.

Mr. H. Morrison

I have noted with some concern the fact that the Socialist Reich Party, which is an organisation of definite neo-Nazi tendencies, polled over a quarter of a million votes in the provincial elections in Lower Saxony on 6th May. The Federal German Government and the Occupying Powers are fully alive to the dangers involved in this development. The Federal Government have announced their intention to take action to have the party declared unconstitutional by the Federal Constitutional Court in accordance with the Basic Law, and thus to deprive it of the protection of that constitution which it seeks to undermine. Steps are being taken to set up the Constitutional Court as soon as possible.

I spoke to the Federal Chancellor on this question during my recent visit to Germany, and I have no reason to believe that the democratically elected Government of the Federal Republic are not fully capable of dealing with any internal threat to the constitutional order. However, we must not exaggerate the importance of this local success by a neo-Nazi group and must exercise a sense of proportion.

Dr. King

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his reply, may I ask whether he is aware that at the week-end Eberhard Stern, one of Remer's associates in the new Nazi gang, said of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, "Mr. Churchill is the greatest war criminal in the world"? Does not my right hon. Friend agree that while statements like that go unpunished in Germany we still have not beaten the Fascism we fought the last war to destroy?

Mr. Morrison

I think the answer I have given is, in principle, sound from my hon. Friend's point of view, and I made that view very clear when I was in Germany. On the other hand, we must keep a sense of proportion in the matter, and, therefore, conduct ourselves accordingly.

Brigadier Medlicott

Contrary to what was stated in the Minister's first reply, has not experience shown that the democratic forces in Germany are incapable of dealing with this particular menace and that, to enable them to do so, it is essential for them to have outside assistance from us?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think that would be a fair assessment. I would much sooner the German authorities themselves dealt with it than that we should, because I think, provided they take the proper action—as I am disposed to think they will—it would be more effective than if foreign Powers intervened.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Does my right hon. Friend realise that even bad ideas cannot be abolished by declaring them to be unconstitutional? Further, does he realise that the policy of re-arming Germany on the basis that without doing so Western civilisation cannot be defended from the Communists is not the best way of convincing Germans that Hitler was wrong?

Mr. Morrison

That is a good effort. I could make an effective reply to my hon. Friend, but it would take so long that I am afraid Mr. Speaker would rule me out of order.

Mr. Pickthorn

With reference to the original reply, can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House the name of any Socialist Party which has not neo-Nazi tendencies?

Mr. Morrison

That is a very poor effort. The hon. Gentleman need go no further than the British Labour Party.

Mr. John Hynd

Does not the Minister agree that if the German authorities are to cope with any menacing situation that might arise from the existence of such parties in Germany, they are in an extremely invidious position through having as their only protection foreign occupation troops? Will he not consider the matter from that angle and discuss with the German authorities and our Allies the possibility of providing some German protection?

Mr. Morrison

I am much obliged to my hon. Friend. His supplementary is, in part, a corrective to the tendentious question of my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman)