HL Deb 17 October 1990 vol 522 cc890-1

3.4 p.m.

Lord Bethell asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have made to the Soviet Government to allow the wife and daughters of Mr. Oleg Gordievski to join him in the United Kingdom.

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, we have repeatedly pressed the Soviet authorities to allow Mr. Gordievski's family to join him in the United Kingdom. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs raised this matter again when he saw Mr. Shevardnadze in New York on 24th September. There is no justification for Mrs. Gordievski being kept apart from her husband. Such reunifications are explicitly covered in the Helsinki Final Act and we shall continue to press the Soviet authorities to honour their obligations.

Lord Bethell

My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for that reply. However, can he say whether his right honourable friend has pointed out to the Soviet Government that whatever they may think about Mr. Gordievski, his wife and small children are totally innocent parties in this matter and that it is intolerable for them to be penalised for something which was done by another person.

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, I can tell my noble friend that my right honourable friend has already made that point forcefully. So far as we are aware, Mrs. Gordievski has done nothing wrong even under Soviet law.

Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos

My Lords, is the noble Earl aware that we on this side of the House also regret that the Soviet Union is unable to allow Mrs. Gordievski and her two daughters to join her husband in this country? Can he say whether our embassy officials in Moscow are able to see Mrs. Gordievski frequently or whether that communication has been cut by the Soviet authorities?

Finally, I wonder whether the noble Earl will allow me to depart slightly from the Question and ask whether Her Majesty's Government are proposing to take any action in connection with Mr. Gordievski's book and his allegations about Mr. Cairncross being the "fifth man"?

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, as regards the first question of the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition, I am sure that the way he phrased it summed up the feelings of all your Lordships. I can assure him that the embassy has been in contact with Mrs. Gordievski and will continue to be so as and when necessary. However, in reply to the noble Lord's final question, I confirm that it is indeed slightly wide of the Question on the Order Paper.