HC Deb 15 July 1963 vol 681 cc19-20
21. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations he has received from British trade unions asking for observers from the British Embassy in Madrid to attend political trials in Spain, as was previously done; and what replies he has sent.

Mr. P. Thomas

A number of trade union branches have raised this matter with my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary. They have been referred to my Answer to the hon. Gentleman on 8th April.

Mr. Allaun

Why are the British Government less concerned than the American Government about seeing what goes on at these trials, particularly as the presence of foreign observers is considered helpful to justice?

Mr. Thomas

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we are not less concerned than the Americans to find out what goes on at these trials, but we find that because the Press are admitted to the trials we have full information about what goes on. As to whether our presence there could influence the course of justice, I would suggest that it would be improper for us to send an observer to the trial of a citizen of a foreign country with that object. We have no standing to intervene in the judicial processes in another country where no British interests are directly involved.

Mr. Bellenger

While it may be regrettable that political trials should take place anywhere, can we have an assurance that the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Privy Seal will not discriminate in his representations of the nature indicated in the Question between countries either of the East or of the West?

Mr. Thomas

Yes, Sir.