HC Deb 30 March 1961 vol 637 cc1535-6
Mr. Swingler (by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he has refused visas to five Japanese whose names have been notified to him by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, who have been invited to come to Britain by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament on the occasion of the Aldermaston marching at the coming weekend, and if he will reconsider his decision.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. R. A. Butler)

I do not consider that it would be in the public interest to give my consent in this case.

Mr. Swingler

Is this not a foolish and prejudiced decision? Should we not welcome to these shores distinguished citizens—and these are distinguished citizens—from the only country which has suffered the agony of atomic bombing? Is it not shameful that these Japanese citizens, who are waiting in West Germany for the grant of permission to enter the United Kingdom for the coming weekend, should be sent back right across the world because the Home Secretary has locked the door against them?

Mr. Butler

Large numbers of foreigners are expected to arrive and join in this event, and no objection is made to their admittance to this country subject to the normal requirement of individual acceptability. Certain powers have been conferred upon me and on occasion they have been exercised. I have decided that I have to exercise them in this case.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the Home Secretary aware that a considerable detachment of people from Scotland are coming to the Aldermaston march, including some of my constituents, whom I have the honour to lead on the march? Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that he is not trying to prejudice public opinion against the march? Why should he not allow the Japanese to come in if thousands of other people are coming?

Mr. Butler

I have no powers or desire to stop the hon. Member coming to take part in the march if he so wishes.

Mr. Zilliacus

In view of the fact that feeling in Japan is strong and nationwide on this issue of banning and getting rid of atomic weapons, will not the Home Secretary take a broad view in regard to these five Japanese? It is too late to replace them by other Japanese and they cannot do very much damage to law, order, security and happiness in this country by taking part in the march. Will not he consider the repercussions in Japan of refusing them admission?

Mr. Butler

I certainly do not wish to prejudice the position in Japan or the views of Japan upon nuclear weapons or anything else. I simply have to decide this matter in relation to the acceptability a these individuals.

Mr. Swingler

Although I am powerless to influence this decision now, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter at a future opportunity on the Adjournment.

  1. ADJOURNMENT 12 words
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