HC Deb 25 June 1958 vol 590 cc404-7
18. Mr. D. Price

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action he proposes to take, either inside the United Nations or in consequence of the obligations of Her Majesty's Government under the Treaty of Peace with Hungary, on the execution of Prime Minister Nagy, General Maleter and their associates by the Hungarian authorities.

28 and 32. Mr. Kirk

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) in view of the obligations of Her Majesty's Government under the terms of the Hungarian Peace Treaty, what action Her Majesty's Government propose to take following the execution of Prime Minister Imre Nagy, General Pal Maleter and two other leaders of the Hungarian people; and whether he will make a statement;

(2) on how many occasions the British delegate at the United Nations raised the question of the whereabouts of M. Nagy and his colleagues in pursuance of his undertaking of 11th February, 1957.

30. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will instruct the British delegate to the United Nations to express the abhorrence of the British nation at the murder of Mr. Imry Nagy and his associates in the discussions that are to take place in the United Nations on this matter.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The indignation aroused by the execution of these men in spite of the safe conducts offered to them is shared by Her Majesty's Government and, I am sure, by the whole House, and I welcome this opportunity of placing this on record.

As regards the particular points raised by hon. Members, the provisions of the Peace Treaty with Hungary have long been frustrated by the Soviet and Hungarian Governments, and there is no prospect that any representations made under the Treaty would be effective.

The Special United Nations Committee on Hungary set up in January, 1957, is considering the executions.

The whereabouts of Mr. Nagy was not raised in the United Nations debate of September, 1957. He was believed then to be in Roumania, and reliance was placed on the assurances which had been given by the Roumanian Foreign Minister that every measure would be taken to guarantee his security and that the Roumanian Government would observe the rules of political asylum.

Mr. Price

Would my right hon. and learned Friend not agree that the action of the Hungarian Communists in betraying the safe conduct and in subsequently murdering their Prime Minister shows that the word of a Communist cannot be trusted and that some action is demanded by the United Nations if an international rule of law is ever to be established?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that public opinion throughout the world will draw the appropriate inference from these actions. As to United Nations action, as I have said, the Special Committee is considering the matter.

Mr. Donnelly

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that the real damage arising from this, apart from the personal tragedy involved, is that once one's word is broken on one matter it is very difficult to gain confidence on wider issues, and would he make it his specific responsibility to bring this point to the notice of the Soviet Government?

Mr. Lloyd

Most certainly, I will.

Mr. Bevan

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that the feelings of repugnance that have been aroused by this action of the Communists in Hungary are shared by hon. Members on this side; but is he also very well aware that, in the interests of international peace, we should not let our vision be obscured by atrocities of this kind?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that the right hon Gentleman is perfectly right. It does, however, give us stronger ground for pursuing a policy of trying to get agreements compliance with which can be proved by deeds.

Mr. Kirk

Can my right hon. and learned Friend say whether he has any information about other trials that may be pending, and whether deportations are still continuing?

Mr. Lloyd

I should like my hon Friend to put that Question down.

Mr. Bevan

Is not the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that it is precisely because we believe that it is concrete obligations that should be undertaken and not vague generalisations that we have put forward definite proposals from this side?

Mr. Lloyd

I was not seeking to raise an element of controversy between us. I thought that, for once, there was some agreement between us.

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