HC Deb 01 December 1952 vol 508 cc1078-9
6. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, during the forthcoming visit of Marshal Tito to this country, he will arrange for a deputation of Members of Parliament to meet the Marshal.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Eden)

Arrangements for Marshal Tito's visit are now under discussion with the Yugoslav Government, and I will bear my hon. Friend's suggestion in mind.

Mr. Teeling

Does my right hon. Friend realise that the reason for this Question being put down is the very strong feeling among many hon. Members on all sides of this House about the way in which Marshal Tito has been treating all Christian denominations in Yugoslavia? Does he not feel that it might be a good idea if the representatives of the people of this country, when Marshal Tito comes here, could be allowed to tell him exactly what we feel? Further, in view of the fact that a new constitution is being promulgated in Yugoslavia, which will make Marshal Tito President and head of the State, is it not unprecedented that the head of a State should visit this country before the Coronation of the reigning Sovereign?

Mr. Eden

Perhaps my hon. Friend will put down the second part of his supplementary question on the Order Paper, because it raises a number of issues. However, it would not be unprecedented for an unofficial visit to be paid were those the circumstances. As regards the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, it has been, and remains, the conviction of Her Majesty's Government that it is likely to be beneficial to the peoples both of Yugoslavia and of Britain that our relations should be steadily improved, and we intend to persevere in the pursuit of peace.

Mr. Healy

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen in the Press that a deputation of women from several parts of this country would like to meet Marshal Tito, if only to express their views upon his treatment of Cardinal Stepinac and other Christians?

Mr. Eden

I am not quite sure that I understood what was the question, though I understood the statement. Was there something that the hon. Member wanted me to do?

Mr. Hastings

Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind how much many hon. Members admired the resistance put up in Yugoslavia during the war and how grateful they would be to meet the representative of that State?

Mr. Eden

On all these questions it is a matter of keeping a sense of balance and of judgment. I am absolutely certain that the more closely and more friendly our relations can be established with Yugoslavia the better we shall be able to serve the causes which my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Teeling) has in mind.

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