§ Mr. S. Silverman
(by Private Notice) asked whether the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations will make immediate representations to the Government of Canada to request them to reconsider their refusal to allow Mrs. Monica Felton to land in Canada next Monday for the purpose of delivering a series of lectures.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. John Foster)
No, Sir. My noble Friend does not propose to make the representation requested by the hon. Gentleman. The House will appreciate that admission into Canada is entirely a matter for the Canadian Government.
§ Mr. Silverman
While appreciating that under recent constitutional developments the Dominions have a sovereign right to determine these questions, may I ask whether or not the hon. and learned Gentleman recognises that this is a question of Commonwealth relations in which the Minister would be entitled, if he so chose, to make courteous representations on behalf of a citizen of the United Kingdom? Will the hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that there would be no point in maintaining the unity of the British Commonwealth of Nations unless each of them recognised the basic common way of life of which freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are necessarily part? Can he undertake, at any rate, that this lady was not excluded as a British citizen from a British Dominion merely because she held unacceptable political opinions?
§ Mr. Foster
Of course I agree with the hon. Gentleman that my noble Friend would be entitled to make a representation, but he does not propose to do so. With regard to the last part of the supplementary question, that is a matter for the Canadian Government.
§ Mr. McGovern
Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that some of us would be loath to back the exclusion of any person, but would it not be abominable if this lady were allowed to go around the world propagating the falsehoods she has propagated on the platform in this country about germ warfare and the conduct of British and American troops?
§ Mr. Silvennan rose—
On a point of order. Although this is a matter for the Canadian Government, the Under-Secretary has already admitted in his supplementary answer that the Secretary of State would have the right to make representations. He has said that he does not propose to do so but has not given any reason for that refusal. In those circumstances, would you not, as a matter of order, Mr. Speaker, permit me to ask him whether he would state, to avoid any kind of misunderstanding, what were the reasons which actuated the Minister in refusing to make representations which are obviously called for and which he admits he has a right to make?
On a point of order. In view of the extremely discourteous refusal of the Under-Secretary to answer the question he was asked, I beg to give notice that I shall seek an early opportunity of raising the matter on the Adjournment.