HC Deb 20 June 1956 vol 554 cc1400-1
3. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will have published the original German Nazi foreign policy documents, the German military records and other documents in his possession which will enable historians to compile an accurate history of the German Nazi record; and if he will ensure that all documents held by members of the inter-Allied scheme shall be microfilmed before being returned or destroyed.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Douglas Dodds-Parker)

As my noble Friend informed the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) on 6th June, the principal documents of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs relating to the outbreak of the last war have already been published both in the original and in English translation by Her Majesty's Government, together with the United States and French Governments. It is our intention to extend the publication of translations of these documents to cover at least the pre-war years of the National Socialist regime in Germany, and this will in itself provide historians with material for a record of Nazi policy. Microfilms have been or will be made of all the principal files of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs on which the inter-Allied publication scheme is based, before their return to Germany.

Mr. Elwyn Jones

Can the Under-Secretary say whether it is now possible for historians to have access to the mass of German documents which are retained in the Pentagon Building in Washington, or is there still some sort of alleged security ban upon such access?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Of course, I have no responsibility for the documents kept there, but if the hon. and learned Member has any particular point he would like me to look into, I will certainly take it up.

Dame Irene Ward

May I ask for an assurance that microfilms of the German Admiralty documents and the German Army documents will be made available to our historians so that we may have these in the records as well?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

It is hoped ultimately to make microfilms of the principal files available to historians.

Dame Irene Ward

Yes, but may I have an assurance?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

I will do my best, but without notice I cannot go into the details of the point which my hon. Friend is inquiring about.

4. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will arrange for a cheap edition to be published of the Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945, Series D, Volume VI.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

No, Sir. There appears to be little public interest in this specialised publication and a cheap edition would involve Her Majesty's Government in additional expense which I would not regard as justified.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Is the Under-Secretary aware that it was the article which appeared in the Manchester Guardian, together with a leading article, which stimulated great interest in this matter and also interested me? Will he consult his right hon. and learned Friend with a view to reconsidering his reply?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

No, Sir. I am afraid I cannot give an assurance that I will do that. Copies of Volume VI and others in Series D are, of course, available in public libraries.

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