§ 2.44 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, as a measure of humanity, they will consider proposing to their Allies that any negotiations with the Soviet Government on the subject of Germany should be deferred until the Soviet Government have effected the release of all Germans kidnapped from West Berlin or the Western Zone.]
THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE MARQUESS OF READING)
No, my Lords. We are not prepared to act upon this suggestion. In the wider interests of the German people we are desirous of entering into discussions with the Soviet Government on the lines indicated in our Note of the 10th July. If we were to wait before doing so until the Soviet Government had taken the measures of humanity in their Zone of Germany which we should wish to see taken, the prospects of entering into any such discussions would be very remote. Strong protests against these kidnappings have, however, been made, and at the request of the German Federal Government and the German authorities in Berlin precautionary measures have been increased.
§ LORD VANSITTART
My Lords, I naturally expected to receive that answer, but I thought that there might be just a faint off-chance for the humanitarian angle, seeing that our chances of a sensible agreement with the Russians about Germany are, in any case, very slender—though I suppose only an independent can say so.