§ 68. Mr. Osborne
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the improved Anglo-Russian relations, he will seek permission from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Government for British journalists to visit that country more freely and to report on conditions in Russia with the same freedom that foreign journalists can report conditions in Britain.
§ Lord John Hope
My right hon. Friend is always ready to support applications by British journalists for permission to visit the Soviet Union. Frequent representations to the Soviet authorities about outstanding visa applications by British journalists have been made in the past year. Some seven British correspondents have been able to visit the Soviet Union, apart from the large party of sports writers which accompanied the Arsenal football team. Reuters resident staff at Moscow has been increased from one to two.
The position however is still far from satisfactory. Some applications for visas are still outstanding. Moreover, it is difficult for British newspapers to maintain resident correspondents at Moscow owing to the unfavourable and artificial rouble exchange rate and the continued existence of the Soviet Press censorship.