HL Deb 08 April 1965 vol 265 cc208-9

4.42 p.m.


My Lords, I am sorry to inflict myself upon you again so soon. On several occasions this week, notably on April 7, Soviet aircraft have flown at extremely low altitudes over Berlin. Some of these aircraft have infringed the control zones of the three airports in West Berlin and have endangered the safety of normal traffic and the lives of their pasengers. Other aircraft have caused sonic booms and fired machine guns over the Western sectors of the city. Such flights are dangerous and unjustified in themselves and a deplorable attempt to intimidate the civilian population of the city. The Western Allies in Berlin have on several occasions lodged protests with the Soviet authorities in the Berlin Air Safety Centre about these activities, particularly those on April 7. The Western Ambassadors in Bonn have lodged a strong protest with the Soviet Ambassador in East Berlin and have requested him to put a stop to these activities. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. George Thomson, will be making the views of Her Majesty's Government clear to the Soviet Ambassador when he calls on him, at his request, later this afternoon.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for having read that Statement, and I think everybody in the House would wish to be associated with the forthright terms which it contains. I think that the sooner the Russian Government understands that intimidation is neither a sensible weapon to use nor one that can possibly succeed, the better for everyone.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his comment, with which Her Majesty's Government are entirely in sympathy.


My Lords, may I ask the Minister whether he could confirm that Her Majesty's Government were consulted on the meeting of the Bundestag in Berlin and agreed with it?


An immediate answer to the question is that the Western Allies were consulted in advance of the decision to hold a meeting, and they consider that this meeting does not affect the status of the city. Indeed, meetings of this sort have been held in the past without causing any tension of the kind that is now evident in Berlin.

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