HC Deb 19 February 1947 vol 433 cc175-6W
Dr. Stross

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) whether he is aware of the ill-treatment in Hungary of Slovaks who have declared that they wish to be repatriated into Slovakia; if he has any information as to the numbers who have made this declaration according to the treaty of 27th February, 1946, for the fulfilment of which we are responsible; and what steps he is taking to create a better understanding between these two countries;

(2) whether his attention has been drawn to the recent refusal of the Prime Minister of Hungary to receive a delegation of Slovaks, who desired to hand over a petition signed by 20,000 of their compatriots, declaring their desire to return to Slovakia; whether he is aware of the frequent assaults made in Hungary upon such Slovaks and the recent resulting death of two of them; and what steps he is taking to ensure that the Hungarian Government fulfils its treaty obligation for which we are responsible;

(3) whether he is aware that the Treaty between Czechoslovakia and Hungary concerning exchange of population and signed on 27th February, 1946, has not been carried out; that the relationship between the two countries is deteriorating; and what steps he proposes to take to promote a settlement in these matters.

Mr. Mayhew

As my hon. Friend will be aware from the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Mr. Haire) on 3rd February, His Majesty's Government are considering how best they can assist the friendly settlement of the dispute which has arisen between the Hungarian and Czechoslovak Governments in connection with the exchange of populations between the two countries. His Majesty's Government have no responsibility with regard to the implementation of the Treaty of 27th February, 1946, which was freely negotiated by the Czechoslovak and Hungarian Governments and I have no information on the various points of detail and the allegations to which my hon. Friend refers. His Majesty's Government's only obligation connected with this matter is that under Article 5 of the Treaty of Peace with Hungary the Council of Foreign Ministers, if no settlement is reached by direct negotiation between the two Governments within six months of the coming into force of the Treaty and if the Czechoslovak Government so desire, is to assist in effecting a final solution of the problem of those inhabitants of Magyar ethnic origin residing in Czechoslovakia who have not been settled in Hungary as a result of the agreement of 27th February, 1946. I hope that direct negotiations between the two countries will begin as soon as possible and that these negotiations will result in a satisfactory settlement.