HL Deb 24 January 1956 vol 195 cc486-7

3.3 p.m.


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 how many protests have been made to the Greek Government against the Anglophobic incitements and mendacities of Athens Radio; what answer has been received to the further protest in regard to that radio's recent allegation that a Turkish police sergeant was murdered in Cyprus by British agents to incriminate Greeks, and whether the British Government will now explain to the Greek Government that the case for maintaining an Ambassador in Athens is weakened when his legitimate representations meet not only with disregard but aggravated offence.]


My Lords, since August, 1954, representations have been made to the Greek Government on more than twenty occasions about broadcasts to Cyprus by Athens Radio. The answer offered on the 16th of January by the Greek Government to Her Majesty's Government's latest protest was unsatisfactory and evasive. It was rejected by Her Majesty's Ambassador, who renewed his representations to the Greek Government and has now been authorised to convey to Her Majesty's Government the Greek Government's assurance that they dissociate themselves from the allegations made in the broadcast which gave rise to this protest. In answer to the last part of the Question, I am not at present able to say what particular measures Her Majesty's Government will take should the Greek Government fail to put a stop to these hostile broadcasts.


My Lords, would it be possible—perhaps it has already been done—for the British Government to convey to the Greek Government that perpetual incitement to the murder of British subjects necessarily reduces the number of Greece's friends in this country?


My Lords, I think that is not only a possible move, but one which has already been carried out on more than one occasion.


My Lords, observing that this murder of a Turkish police sergeant followed immediately upon one of these incitements to violence by Athens Radio, may I ask whether the advisability has been considered of asking the Greek Ambassador to come to the Foreign Office, so that he may be told face to face and in the most unmistakable manner, what we feel about the failure of the Greek Government to control Athens Radio? Further, may I ask whether the advisability has also been considered of inflicting a collective fine upon the town of Nicosia, observing that several people witnessed this murder but no one came forward to give evidence? Could not a collective fine be inflicted upon Nicosia, such as has been inflicted upon other quite small villages for lesser offences?


My Lords, as regards the first part of the noble Lord's supplementary question, I may say that protests have been made to the greatest extent by the British Ambassador in Athens, and I think I am right in saying that on more than one occasion the Greek Ambassador here has been to the Foreign Office and has had the views of the Foreign Office on these matters conveyed to him. With all respect to the noble Lord, may I say that surely the second part of his question does not arise out of the Question on the Order Paper? I should not be able to answer it, if, indeed, it fell to me to answer it at all, without notice.