HL Deb 05 December 1956 vol 200 cc765-6

My Lords, I beg to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is any difference in principle in the methods of deportation practised by the Russians and those practised by their protégé Egypt; and if there is none, whether both can be arraigned before the United Nations.]


My Lords, in a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on November 27, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary commented that the indiscriminate character of the Egyptian expulsion orders was reminiscent of the barbarous methods of mass deportations at short notice which have been practised in other countries. The noble Lord asks whether there is any difference in principle between Russian and Egyptian methods. Whilst not in any way condoning Egyptian methods, I must therefore point out that Egyptian actions are in a somewhat different category from Soviet actions in Hungary. The Soviet Government have transported Hungarian nationals from Hungary as prisoners into the Soviet Union itself. The Egyptian Government, by contrast, are expelling foreign nationals who are at liberty as soon as they have left Egypt.

The Soviet action in Hungary has already been challenged in a resolution passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations, on November 21, by an overwhelming majority. The Egyptian action has been challenged in the letter from my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary to the Secretary-General of the United Nations to which I have already referred. My right honourable friend requested that his letter should be brought to the attention of all members of the United Nations.


My Lords, I thank the noble Marquess for his; full reply which obviously requires a little time to digest. I would only ask him whether there is not some international convention which applies against such deportations. Are they not in contravention of a Geneva Agreement? I have seen some mention of this point in the Press. Doubtless the noble Marquess will know whether it is contrary to International Law that these people should be thrown out in the way that they have been.


My Lords, there are perhaps two aspects of this matter. There is the Geneva Convention of 1949, which I think the noble Lord has in mind. The other is the general aspect of International Law.