HC Deb 23 May 1966 vol 729 cc7-8
7. Mr. Iremonger

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what discussions he has had with Iron Curtain countries about diplomatic privileges for their embassies' staffs in the United Kingdom.

Mr. George Thomson

My Department is in constant touch with the embassies of the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe about matters arising from the provisions of diplomatic immunity.

Mr. Iremonger

Would the right hon. Gentleman give a little further consideration to this, bearing in mind that, since the Russians have never made a very clear distinction between diplomacy and espionage, the situation at the moment is just a little unbalanced in favour of potential enemy countries?

Mr. Thomson

Espionage is quite a different matter. On the question of providing diplomatic immunities, we are anxious, as the hon. Member knows, to safeguard the position of our own people in the embassies in Communist countries, and this has to be done on a basis of reciprocity.