HC Deb 29 October 1975 vol 898 cc1564-5
2 Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to pay an official visit to Moscow.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Roy Hattersley)

My right hon. Friend has no plans at present to visit the Soviet Union.

Mr. Janner

When my right hon. Friend or the Foreign Secretary has the opportunity of consulting the Soviet authorities, here or in the Soviet Union, will he draw to their attention the case of Academician Benjamin Levich, who has been awarded a fellowship at University College, Oxford, and who was promised that he could leave Russia with his wife this month or next, but who has now been told by the KGB that they may never go? Will my right hon. Friends explain to the Soviet authorities that when they treat people like this, their signature on the Final Act of the Helsinki agreement is not worth the paper it is written on?

Mr. Hattersley

We have continually drawn the attention of the Soviet authorities to this sort of case, both before the Final Act of the Helsinki agreement and since. We shall continue to do so.

Mr. Sproat

If the Foreign Secretary visits Moscow, will the right hon. Gentleman encourage him to consider the possibility of bilateral negotiations with the Soviet Union on the lines of the successful negotiations conducted by the Prime Minister in Bucharest last month? Might it be possible to get some agreement on monthly monitoring, as the Prime Minister did in relation to trade? Could the right hon. Gentleman also say when British journalists will get the same visa facilities as Americans, following the Helsinki CSCE agreement?

Mr. Hattersley

I understand that the visa situation for British journalists has considerably improved and that multi-entry visas are at least in prospect if not already granted. I am glad the hon. Member applauded some of the achievements of the recent past. We still want to examine whether they can be repeated with other countries in Eastern Europe, but each country needs a prescription and a remedy of its own.

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