HC Deb 19 June 1964 vol 696 cc230-1W
Mr. McBride

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement of the charges of speculation laid by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics authorities against Dr. Mervyn Matthews, a research fellow at Moscow University; and if he will request the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics authorities to remove any further official obstacle to Dr. Matthews' marriage to his Russian fiancée, Miss Ludmila Bibikova.

Mr. R. A. Butler

On 17th June, the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed Her Majesty's Embassy in Moscow that Dr. Matthews had engaged in activities inconsistent with his status as a research student, and in particular in anti-Soviet propaganda and speculation, and that as a result Dr. Matthews was required to leave the Soviet Union within 48 hours. The Embassy sought further information about the complaints made against Dr. Matthews and asked for an extension of the time limit. Both requests were refused.

Her Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow has, on instructions, expressed concern at this expulsion. If the Soviet authorities think that a student is engaging in impermissible activities, the right course is for them to inform us of the facts without delay, in order that the student may be warned, or other suitable action taken by mutual agreement. The Soviet authorities have also been informed that this second expulsion of a British exchange student from the Soviet Union without previous discussion between the Soviet and British authorities must have an adverse effect on the development of student exchanges between the Soviet Union and this country.

As regards Dr. Matthews' proposed marriage to Miss Bibikova, it is clear that, even if grounds could be found for intervention by Her Majesty's Government, such intervention would now be unavailing.