HC Deb 26 February 1968 vol 759 cc914-5
2. Mr. Longden

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the cost to public funds in terms of money and manpower of Great Britain's share in guarding Rudolph Hess; and what is his policy regarding the continuation of this obligation.

54. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reply he has received from the Soviet Government in answer to his approach to them about the release of Rudolf Hess from Spandau Prison.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. William Rodgers)

I regret to say that the Soviet Government have refused to agree to the release of Rudolf Hess from Spandau.

The direct cost to Her Majesty's Government in guarding Hess arises from the employment of five British warders, and in 1966 amounted to £6,691.

Mr. Longden

Is it not time that, in conjunction with our American and French allies, we stopped paying this price for Soviet vindictiveness and released an old gentleman who is far beyond doing any harm to anyone?

Mr. Rodgers

Without necessarily following the hon. Member in his precise terminology I entirely agree that for practical and humanitarian reasons it would be better that Hess should be released, but I do not think that it can be done in the way the hon. Member suggests.

Mr. Digby

Apart from the question of expense, does it not seem unjustifiable that Hess should now be suffering solitary confinement, to which he was never condemned?

Mr. Rodgers

As I have said, it would be better if he were let out. He has been locked up now for 25 years, which is long enough.

Mr. Paget

Considering that Hess came to us and surrendered himself to try to make peace, would not that £6,000 be better spent by arranging for his escape?

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