HC Deb 26 October 1953 vol 518 cc2420-1
16. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what restrictions are placed on our seamen when they visit Soviet and Chinese ports; what steps have been or are being, taken to remove such restrictions; and how the sailors of Communist-dominated countries fare in United Kingdom ports.

Mr. Nutting

The restrictions placed on British seamen in Soviet and Chinese ports follow a general pattern of close supervision, including limitation of shore leave and searching of crews' quarters. Specific allegations of mistreatment of British seamen are investigated and, if well-founded, brought to the attention of the Government concerned. Some districts in the Soviet Union have now been opened to foreign travel and I hope that this will result in an improvement of the situation.

Subject to immigration control all foreign seamen are allowed to take shore leave at United Kingdom ports.

Mr. Hamilton

Can the Minister say whether the Government have had any representations from seamen about their unwillingness to go to these ports because of these restrictions? Have any representations been made by the Navigators and Engineer Officers Union on this matter?

Mr. Nutting

I would hesitate to answer that question without notice. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will put it down?