HC Deb 07 November 1955 vol 545 cc1474-5
35. Mr. Black

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make representations to the United States Government to relax their requirement that British citizens requiring visas for visits to the United States of America should have their finger-prints taken, so that the concession recently granted by the United States Government in respect of certain Russian visitors to their country may also apply in the case of British visitors.

Mr. Turton

As I explained to the hon. Member for Ladywood (Mr. V. Yates) on 18th July, Her Majesty's Government have no valid grounds for making official representations to the United States Government on the subject of United States visa regulations. The Russian agriculturists, journalists and building experts who were recent visitors to the United States were regarded as official visitors and received official United States entry visas, for which no finger-prints are necessary.

Mr. Mayhew

Whatever the Americans feel about finger-printing, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the British people regard the whole process as humiliating? Is it not in their own interests that the Americans should pay a little more regard to local susceptibilities of this kind?

Mr. V. Yates

The right hon. Gentleman will recollect that, when I first raised this matter, there was to have been some relaxation of the procedure. I should like to' know what relaxation has actually taken place, for all, including Members of Parliament, are still finger-printed when visiting the United States. Is it not insulting to us? If we were to adopt the same procedure and apply it to the Americans, would they not regard it as insulting to them?

Mr. Turton

It is quite true that up to 1952 Very Important Persons, such as Members of Parliament, were excused finger-printing. Under the McCarranWalter Act, only those are excused who are travelling on official and diplomatic visas.

Dame Irene Ward

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I should not in the least mind having my finger-prints taken?

Mr. Turton

I am very grateful for the information. I understand that Mr. Dulles has said that he regularly submits to finger-printing.

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