HC Deb 13 July 1953 vol 517 cc1701-3
25. Mr. Gower

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs which European countries may only be visited by British citizens who obtain special permission or entry permits; which European countries require special visas; what countries can be visited on production of a British passport only; and what steps he is taking to achieve reciprocal agreements which will permit British people and nationals of other countries to visit each other on presentation of passports only.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I will, with permission, circulate details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Gower

While recognising that my Question may ask for a state of affairs which is idealist and may be unobtainable for some time, may I ask whether we as a country should not play a leading part in mooting this idea?

Mr. Lloyd

My hon. Friend will see when he studies the answer, which will be circulated, that a great deal has been done along these lines.

Following are the details: British subjects holding United Kingdom passports require special permits for entry into the Soviet Zone of Austria, in which Vienna is an enclave, and the Eastern Zone of Germany, including the Soviet Sector of Berlin. Visas are required for entry into Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Roumania, the Saar, the Soviet Union, Spain and Yugoslavia. Visas are not required by holders of United Kingdom passports for the following countries:

Austria. Liechtenstein.
Belgium. Luxembourg.
Denmark. Monaco.
France. Netherlands.
Federal Republic of Germany. Norway.
San Marino.
Greece. Sweden.
Iceland. Switzerland.
Italy. Turkey.

Inquiries which have been made of the Portuguese and Spanish authorities indicate that those authorities are not at present prepared to conclude visa abolition agreements with us. No approaches to other European countries are contemplated at the present time.

30. Mr. R. Bell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether visas are still necessary for citizens of the German Federal Republic visiting this country; and when this formality will be abolished.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I would refer my hon. Friend to my hon. Friend's written reply to the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) on 20th May.

Mr. Bell

Does my right hon. and learned Friend not realise that the value of these visas has been greatly overrated and that in those cases where the visa requirement has been abolished no serious inconvenience has resulted? In view of the fact that the Federal German Republic have abolished the requirement of visas from British subjects as from 1st July, should we not seriously consider reciprocal action?

Mr. Lloyd

We have gone as far as we can in present crcumstances by making no charge for visas for German nationals holding valid Federal German passports.