HC Deb 30 March 1960 vol 620 cc1328-9
49. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will give an assurance that none of the German documents at present in the joint possession of the Allied Powers will be destroyed, and no further such documents be returned to the custody of the Federal German Government, without the prior consent of this House.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I can assure the hon. Lady that there is no intention of destroying any of the captured German documents in whose control Her Majesty's Government have a share. As to the return of these documents to the German Government, this will continue as hitherto under arrangements which ensure that the material remains available for suitable use. In this connection I would refer the hon. Lady to the reply which I gave to the hon. and learned Member for West Ham, South (Mr. Elwyn Jones) on 7th March.

Mrs. Castle

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that if these documents are returned to the West German Government he cannot then give this House a guarantee that they will not be destroyed? Does not he agree that the documents are of international importance? Will he, therefore, take steps at the United Nations to suggest that all countries possessing such documents should put them under the control of the United Nations, where they can be made easily accessible to all who are interested in them?

Mr. Lloyd

I shall certainly consider that possibility, but there is a factor in this case to which the hon. Lady has perhaps not given sufficient regard: microfilms are taken of all these documents before they are returned.

Mrs. Castle

That is not the point.