HC Deb 15 June 1964 vol 696 c931
31. Commander Courtney

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on how many occasions over the past three years British diplomatic representatives in East European countries have been subjected to some form of arrest or detention within the meaning of Article 29 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations signed by the representatives of 81 States in 1961.

Mr. P. Thomas

Our missions in Eastern Europe have reported six occasions during the last three years, of which four have been in the Soviet Union, on which British representatives of diplomatic rank have been subjected to what must be regarded as detention.

Commander Courtney

Does not this represent six clear cases of a breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations? Would my right hon. Friend not agree that there is a widely differing interpretation in various countries of the words "arrest" and "detention"? Does not the fact that we observe these international agreements always react to our disadvantage?

Mr. Thomas

I agree with my hon. and gallant Friend that there were, in our view, six clear cases of improper detention and in each case we have made appropriate protest. It is important that there should not be these differing interpretations, and we hope that in the future we will interpret the Convention identically.

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