HC Deb 03 June 1959 vol 606 cc25-6W
Mr. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) why he will not ease travel restrictions placed upon residents of East Germany desiring to visit this country;

(2) whether he is aware that one of the obstacles to encouraging visitors from the Eastern Zone of Germany to see the advantages of democratic Britain is the difficulty experienced by residents in East Germany in obtaining their temporary travel documents from the Allied Control Office in Berlin; and whether he will discuss at the Foreign Ministers' Conference the possibility of making travel to and from East Germany and Great Britain easier, on a reciprocity basis;

(3) what procedure has to be adopted by a resident of Eastern Germany to visit Great Britain; why, in addition to normal visa procedure, intending visitors have to obtain a temporary travel document; what restrictions exist on the issue of these documents; how long on average it takes to obtain such a document; and to what extent, before such a document is issued, it is the practice for the application to be vetted by the American and French authorities.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

In order to visit the United Kingdom a resident of East Germany must obtain a temporary travel document and a United Kingdom visa. The need for the former arises from Her Majesty's Government's non-recognition of the East German regime and, consequently, of East German passports. Except that it cannot be issued to holders of Federal German passports, there are no restrictions on the issue of this document. It can normally be obtained in three weeks from the Allied Travel Office, although in cases of urgency this can be reduced to three or four days. I see no reason to seek to alter this procedure.