HC Deb 25 January 1954 vol 522 cc1441-2
18. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now arrange for the restrictions on the movements of Soviet diplomats in the United Kingdom to be removed.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

No, Sir. Under the present arrangement Soviet diplomats in Britain are treated much more favourably than British diplomats in Russia.

Mr. Wyatt

Is it not true that Soviet diplomats in Britain may not go more than 35 miles from London, whereas British diplomats in Moscow may go a great deal further? Is it not also true that when a Soviet diplomat wanted to go to see his own countryman playing chess at Hastings he had to ask permission of the Foreign Office?

Mr. Lloyd

The position is that 48 hours' notice has to be given in advance when a diplomat wishes to travel more than 35 miles from London. In fact, the case in Russia is that our representatives have to give 48 hours' notice when they wish to travel more than 25 miles.

Mr. Beswick

Can the Minister say what advantage is derived from this piece of silly behaviour?

Mr. Lloyd

At least, it would appear that we are less silly than the Russians in this behaviour.

Mr. Wyatt

Is it not time to drop this silly type of behaviour and to show that we are slightly more adult than the Russians?

Mr. Lloyd

That is precisely why, when the Soviet Union recently reduced the area of their country which is totally prohibited, we responded at once by increasing the limit from 25 miles to 35 miles.

Mr. R. Harris

May I make a further appeal? Is it not possible to drop this altogether? Is it not quite futile to keep on with this method? Would it not be a real gesture to the Russians to drop this policy altogether?

Mr. Lloyd

As I say, we do not prohibit visits to any part of this country, but substantially large areas of the Soviet Union are totally prohibited.

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