HC Deb 25 June 1941 vol 372 cc1072-3W
Mr. Gallacher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has considered the protest from the Government of Iceland concerning the ban on the Communist daily paper, "Thjodvil-jinn," and the arrest and deportation of a Communist member of the Icelandic Parliament; whether he is aware that a joint meeting of both houses of the Icelandic Parliament has also registered a unanimous protest against this action as being contrary to the constitutional immunity of Icelandic members of Parliament under that country's law; that further protests have been made by the Society of Icelandic Writers and by almost every newspaper of all political views; and whether any steps are being taken to remedy these grievances?

Mr. Butler

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. Protests were registered by certain organisations in Iceland and the fact of the suppression of the newspaper referred to by the hon. Member and the deportation of the editors was naturally reported and commented on generally in the Icelandic Press. As regards the last part of the Question, the three persons concerned were arrested and deported for having endeavoured to spread disaffection among the British troops and to promote ill-feeling between them and certain sections of the inhabitants of the island, thus affecting the security of His Majesty's Forces in Iceland. While His Majesty's Government regret that this action should have been necessary, they have no reason to believe that it has impaired the friendly relations existing between them and the Icelandic Government or led to ill-feeling between the British Forces and the inhabitants of Iceland. They do not, therefore, propose to take any further action in the matter.