HC Deb 19 May 1927 vol 206 cc1394-5W

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any change has been made in the arrangements whereby the head of the Russian Trade Delegation in this country enjoyed diplomatic privileges and immunities and the right to receive sealed bags up to a limited amount, as stated in the official answers to questions on this subject given to the hon. and gallant Member for Handsworth (Commander O. LockerLampson) on 23rd June, 1926, and the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), on 1st July, and other hon. Members on various dates; and will he state whether the commercial attaches of other Governments enjoy the same privileges and immunities?


Some confusion has arisen owing to the fact that M. Khlopliankin, M. Khinchuk's predecessor, was not, only official agent under the Trade Agreement, but also Commercial Counsellor to the Soviet Mission. It was only in his latter capacity that he was entitled to diplomatic privilege. The official agent is only entitled to the privileges provided for in the Trade Agreement; commercial attachés to the diplomatic missions in London are, of course, entitled to diplomatic privilege.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, seeing that in the declaration of recognition of claims contained in the trade agreement of 1921 both Russia and Great Britain recognise in principle their liability to pay compensation to private persons who have supplied goods or services for which they have not been paid, he can state if the Russian Government have at any time since the signature of the trade agreement issued any statements to the effect that they do not con- sider themselves bound by the obligations entered into in 1921; if so, by whom were such statements made and on what dates?


His Majesty's Government have received no intimation from the Soviet Government repudiating the declaration in question, which provided that private claims should be settled only in a general treaty to be concluded later. The general treaty negotiated with the Soviet Government in 1924 contained, in the view of His Majesty's present Government, no satisfactory provision for their settlement, and the Soviet Government have shown no signs since then of accepting the conditions regarded by His Majesty's Government as fundamental to fresh negotiations; in fact they have given clear indications that they do not intend to recognise the former Russian Imperial obligations.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, on the 16th February this year, he gave by Note certain assurances in regard to the Soviet trade agent in London; if so, will he say what was the nature of those assurances; if any similar assurances had been given previously; and under what circumstances the Note of the 16th February was given?


On the 8th December, 1926, the Soviet Chargé d'Affaires requested that the name of M. Khinchuk should be inserted in the diplomatic list in the place of M. Khlopliankin whose duties as Chairman of the Soviet Trade Delegation M. Khinchuk had taken over. I replied that as M. Rosengolz did not state that M. Khinchuk occupied any post on the staff of the Soviet Mission, I was not in a position to give directions for the inclusion of his name in the diplomatic list. On the 4th February, 1927, M. Rosengolz addressed a note to me in which he stated that he assumed that M. Khinchuk would be accorded all the rights and immunities enjoyed by official representatives of other foreign Governments in Great Britain. To which I replied on the 16th February that he would be granted the same privileges under the Trade Agreement of 1921 as have been enjoyed thereunder by his predecessors in the office of trade agent.