HC Deb 07 December 1955 vol 547 cc360-1
10. Mr. John Hall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the nature of the complaint from an embassy in London, particulars of which have been sent to him, that microphones were concealed in the ambassador's quarters; and the results of his subsequent investigations.

Mr. Turton

No such complaint has been received from any foreign embassy in London. Early this year the Czechoslovak Minister of Foreign Affairs sought to justify the molesting of members of Her Majesty's Embassy in Prague by informing Her Majesty's Ambassador that eavesdropping devices had been found in the Czechoslovak Embassy in London. In fact, reliable evidence shows that these eavesdropping devices were installed in the Czechoslovak Embassy in London in 1948 by a representative of the then Czechoslovak Minister of the Interior. This information was conveyed to the Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs in June this year.

Mr. Hall

As it is quite clear from that reply that the British have no responsibility at all for this large-scale installation of microphones, could my right hon. Friend assist the Ambassador to guard against a recurrence of this microphonic eavesdropping by drawing his attention to the dangers inherent in the present location of that Embassy near to the Russian Embassy?

Mr. Turton

I do not know that I can assist very much in the direction which my hon. Friend suggests. The fact is that, during November and December, 1947, there were bought in this country, on behalf of the Czechoslovak Ministry of the Interior, 1,000 microphones from surplus Government stock. These were sent to Prague. Later, a further 100 were bought, and it is believed that these, or some of them, were installed in all Czechoslovak Government offices in London.