HC Deb 21 October 1987 vol 120 cc718-9
15. Mr. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on the current state of relations between Austria and the United Kingdom.

Mrs. Chalker

Relations between the United Kingdom and Austria are friendly and reflect the common interests of our Governments and peoples.

Mr. Janner

Will Her Majesty's Government assure the House of their full co-operation in the inquiries that the Austrian Government have set up into the wartime activities of President Waldheim? In particular, will the Government now release the documents in the Public Record Office which they saw fit to refuse to release before and which specifically relate to the alleged involvement of President Waldheim's unit in the interrogation of British prisoners of war, some of whom were later sent for so-called Sonderbehandlung—which meant extermination in concentration camps—and whose whereabouts and deaths have never been confirmed?

Mrs. Chalker

I can answer the hon. and learned Gentleman's second question briefly — no, the documents will not be released. Let me say, firmly, that where there is evidence—I mean evidence and not allegations, as I am sure the hon. and learned Gentleman will accept — we shall co-operate, whether that be with the Austrians or with the United Nations War Crimes Commission. That we have always done, and that we shall continue to do.

Mr. Forth

As a democrat, does my right hon. Friend not welcome and support the result of free elections in any country and respect those thus elected?

Mrs. Chalker

Yes. That is what democracy is all about.

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