HC Deb 16 April 1956 vol 551 cc682-3
42. Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will asked the Soviet Government for information on the whereabouts of Leonard Wincott, a British subject, who took part in the Invergordon Mutiny of 1931, and subsequently went to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to work in the Leningrad Seamen's Institute and disappeared in May, 1938.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

In reply to an inquiry by Her Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow in 1955, the Soviet Government stated that Wincott had become a Soviet citizen in 1939. In these circumstances, Her Majesty's Government have no status to make any further approach on his behalf.

Mr. Mallalieu

If the Foreign Secretary cannot do anything for Mr. Wincott, can he not do something for Mr. Wincott's relatives, who are British citizens? Is he aware that this courageous seaman was sent to prison for ten years for criticising Stalin, before that exercise became fashionable? Does he not think that conditions are now favourable for getting Mr. Wincott permission to communicate with his relatives?

Mr. Lloyd

I have never been approached by Mr. Wincott's relatives, and I have no record of their address. If the hon. Gentleman will put me in touch with them I will see what can be done.

Mrs. Braddock

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman find out whether Mr. Wincott took on Soviet nationality? Is he aware that my information is that in 1954, when some English prisoners were released, they informed responsible people in this country that Frank Wincott was still in prison and that in 1955 his whereabouts were well-known? It might be possible for the Minister to take steps to find out whether Wincott took Soviet nationality or is still retained in prison for this very long period.

Mr. Lloyd

The hon. Lady is aware of the difficulty with which I am faced. We made inquiries in Moscow and we received a categorical assurance that Mr. Wincott became a Soviet citizen in 1939.

Mrs. Braddock

Cannot Mr. Wincott himself be asked to supply information whether he became a Soviet citizen?

Mr. Lloyd

I will consider the hon. Lady's suggestion.

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