HL Deb 19 March 1987 vol 485 cc1516-7

3.10 p.m.

Baroness Robson of Kiddington

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Prime Minister intends to raise the case of Mr. Raoul Wallenberg during her forthcoming visit to the Soviet Union.

Baroness Hooper

My Lords, we have pressed the Soviet authorities on a number of occasions for a full and frank account of the fate of Raoul Wallenberg. On this occasion I note the Question from the noble Baroness, and will ensure that it is drawn to the attention of my right honourable friend the Prime Minister.

Baroness Robson of Kiddington

My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for that helpful reply. I hope she will agree that never has the opportunity been greater, in view of the apparent slight change of mind of the Soviet administration and Mr. Gorbachev's various statements about human rights. For the sake of his family, and for the sake of all of us, to find the true answer to the fate of Raoul Wallenberg—one of the greatest humanitarians this century has seen—would be very worth while.

Baroness Hooper

Yes, indeed, my Lords. We hope that the new openness in Soviet society will lead to a fuller explanation of Raoul Wallenberg's fate. We take every opportunity to raise human rights issues with the Russians.

The Earl of Lauderdale

My Lords, will my noble friend say whether she is willing to receive a representation, before the Prime Minister leaves, about the Dragunsky case, which is not widely known but which has been drawn to my attention? May I write to her about it?

Baroness Hooper

Yes, my Lords.

Lord Bottomley

My Lords, would the Minister ask her right honourable friend the Prime Minister, on her visit to the Soviet Union, to recognise that there has been an easing of the situation for dissidents since arrival of the new Soviet leadership and will she encourage this to continue?

Baroness Hooper

Yes, my Lords. I feel sure that my right honourable friend will follow this tack in her meetings.

Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos

My Lords, can the noble Baroness tell the House what is the latest information about Mr. Wallenberg? Is it thought that he is still alive? Secondly, can the noble Baroness say whether any initiative through the United Nations has ever been contemplated by the Government?

Baroness Hooper

My Lords, this is primarily a matter for the Swedish Government. The Soviets have in the past responded to our representations and to Swedish representations by referring to a note sent in 1957. Neither we nor the Swedish Government regard this as a definitive answer and we remain in close contact with the Swedish Government on this matter.