HC Deb 28 January 1953 vol 510 cc1001-2
42. Viscount Hinchingbrooke

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will define the powers of investigation of German political activities and arrest of German nationals reserved to Her Majesty's Government after the final ratification of the Bonn Contractual Agreements.

Mr. Eden

After the entry into force of the Bonn Conventions the position in this respect will be governed by Article 2, paragraph 1, and Article 5 of the Convention on Relations. The three Powers retain by that Convention the rights at present held or exercised by them relating to the protection of the security of Armed Forces in Germany, but the exercise of these rights will conform to the provisions of Article 5 of the same Convention.

Action such as that recently taken by the United Kingdom High Commissioner could not be carried out by the three Powers or one of them in comparable circumstances after the Bonn Conventions enter into force. The powers of the British military authorities to take into custody German nationals will be those specified in Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights and Obligations of Foreign Forces.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

I am obliged to my right hon. Friend, but does he not consider that the description, in paragraph 2 of Article 5 to which he referred, of what constitutes a state of emergency, is a description of events of a far more momentous character than those which were the subject of Her Majesty's Government's action a fortnight ago? Does not it appear, therefore, that the Convention has been so broadly drawn as to make it almost impossible after the ratification of the Bonn Agreements to deal with these political movements in their incipient and emergent stages?

Mr. Eden

My noble Friend is right in drawing a distinction between the powers we now have and the powers we should have under the Bonn Convention. It is correct to say that the Articles which give us these powers are very complicated. Broadly, I should say that they could only be operated then in an emergency and not perhaps in a potential danger such as we are dealing with here.

Mr. Bellenger

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the powers of the German Government, to which he referred in his original answer, differ now from what they will be when the Conventions are ratified, in so far as arrests of German nationals, similar to those recently undertaken by H.M. Government, are concerned?

Mr. Eden

What is quite clear is that the powers of the German Government, and the powers of a future German Government, under their own constitution, would not be as wide as those which H.M. Government now exercise in Germany.