HC Deb 08 July 1968 vol 768 c12
6. Mr. Blaker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement about the latest position in regard to Mr. Gerald Brooke.

Mr. M. Stewart

Yes, Sir. The Soviet authorities gave their consent to a meeting in Moscow by the Acting Consul with Mr. Brooke, which took place on 20th June, and lasted for 35 minutes.

Mr. Blaker

Is it not rather deplorable that this was the first meeting which Mr. Brooke had been allowed to have with a British consular officer for more than a year? Can the Foreign Secretary give the House any assurance about Mr. Brooke's state of health and the likelihood of more frequent meetings with consular officers in future?

Mr. Stewart

I think that it was deplorable that it was so long since the previous visit. I raised this matter with Mr. Gromyko when I was in Moscow recently and this visit subsequently occurred. I think that one can say that Mr. Brooke's health is as good as can be expected and not as was at one time feared. As to more frequent visits, the Soviet Government is aware that we are ready to exchange ratifications of the Consular Convention within a month of its informing us that it will do the same. When that Convention is ratified, Mr. Brooke and others in his position will be entitled to regular visits.

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