HC Deb 21 March 1955 vol 538 cc1723-4
20 and 21. Mr. Peyton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) what replies have been received from the Soviet authorities to the protests made concerning the kidnapping in West Berlin of Dr. Truschnowitsch on 13th April, 1954;

(2) if he will instruct the United Kingdom delegate to raise in the General Assembly of the United Nations the question of the kidnapping of Dr. Truschnowitsch in West Berlin on 13th April, 1954.

34. Mr. J. Eden

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when the case of the kidnapping of Dr. Alexander Truschnowitsch by Soviet agents on 13th April, 1954, was referred to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights; and what further action he intends to take in this matter.

Lord John Hope

The only reply so far received is contained in a communication of 22nd April, in which the Soviet Commandant repeated the statement broadcast by East Berlin Radio that Dr. Truschnowitsch had voluntarily given himself up to the East German authorities. This assertion is not consonant with the evidence. I am satisfied that no useful purpose would be served by trying to pursue this matter through the United Nations. The Human Rights Commission discusses general problems of human rights and isnot empowered to consider individual cases. Nor is there any effective action which the General Assembly could take in this matter. Further action can, I think, best be taken direct with the Soviet authorities, and I am considering instructing the British Commandant in Berlin to raise this question again with the Soviet Commandant.

Mr. Peyton

While I welcome the last part of that reply, may I ask my hon. Friend to consider publishing in full in a White Paper the activities in connection with this quite unexplained crime? Is my hon. Friend aware that, from the point of view of public opinion, it is most undesirable to allow these disgraceful occurrences to disappear into obscruity without their being challenged, and challenged frequently?

Lord John Hope

I will look into the question of a White Paper. In answer to the last point, I hope that these questions and answers will remove any doubts about the matter. This is still very much in the forefront.

Mr. J. Eden

Is not it a fact that we have already protested three times by sending three Notes to the Russian authorities on this case and that no satisfactory reply—in fact I believe no reply at all—has been received? What purpose will be served by sending further notes of protest? Does my hon. Friend hope to get a satisfactory reply from the Russian authorities by sending a note of that nature?

Lord John Hope

There is nothing like keeping on trying.