HC Deb 10 December 1953 vol 521 cc2159-60
14. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to granting visas to students from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and other Iron Curtain countries wishing to visit this country for scientific or academic purposes.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Students from those countries are not as such excluded from the scope of the general policy under which, subject to certain conditions, foreign students are freely admitted for recognised courses of study. No application from an Iron Curtain country for a visa for such a purpose in recent years can be traced, but if any such application were received it would be considered on its merits.

Mr. Fletcher

May we take it that in the interests of encouraging good relations between these two countries it will be made widely known that applications for visas for these purposes will be sympathetically entertained?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Certainly. That is the purpose of my answer. They will be considered in exactly the same way as applications from students from other countries. As the hon. Gentleman knows, there is always the personal check which has to be made.

Mr. Ede

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman endeavour to get this action made reciprocal?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Ellis Smith

As further evidence of the correctness of the Secretary of State's policy, may I ask him whether he is aware that the recent visit of the cultural delegations from the Soviet Union has had a very fine effect in this country? They created a great impression when they appeared on television and they themselves were very pleased with the reception given to them by the British people.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I will bear that in mind.