HC Deb 21 February 1963 vol 672 c614
13. Mr. Healey

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what requests Her Majesty's Government has received from other Commonwealth Governments regarding assistance for African students recently expelled from Bulgaria.

Mr. Tilney

The Nigerian Government have today authorised our Legation in Sofia to repatriate four Nigerian students who are still in Bulgaria and wish to leave. No other official requests for assistance have been received from Commonwealth Governments.

According to the information available, the number of students expelled was seven. They are all reported to have gone to Prague. One of them, who is a Nigerian, is continuing his homeward journey to West Africa. Another, a Ghanaian, is being looked after by the Ghanaian Embassy. None of the remaining five comes from the Commonwealth.

Mr. Healey

Whilst welcoming that information, may I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that many of us on both sides of the House will feel that these events throw a significant light on the claim of the Communist countries to be the best friends of the Afro-Asian peoples and to have abolished racial discrimination?

Mr. Tilney

Yes, Sir. It appears from the available information that the trouble arose because the Bulgarian authorities wanted to impose their own nominee as president of the students' association and students who have grown up in territories which have been under British administration do not expect such treatment.