HC Deb 10 November 1967 vol 753 cc190-1W
Mrs. Thatcher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will detail the occasions on which access to Mr. Gerald Brooke has been requested specifying in each case the results of the representations.

Mr. William Rodgers

Mr. Brooke was arrested in April, 1965. Between then and May, 1966 he was visited on four occasions by Her Majesty's Consul and three times by Mrs. Brooke, who last saw her husband in February, 1966. Throughout this period the British Embassy in Moscow pressed on every possible occasion for more frequent consular access to Mr. Brooke. For example between 6th August and 30th September, 1965, the Minister at the Embassy made 14 approaches to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After Mr. Brooke's transfer to a labour camp in May, 1966, many further requests for a visit by Her Majesty's Consul were made by the Embassy. These had no result, although in response to repeated enquiries the Embassy was informed in August, 1966 that Mrs. Brooke might visit her husband once a year. The Embassy continued to press for consular access on every possible occasion. The Prime Minister spoke about Mr. Brooke to Mr. Kosygin in Moscow both in February and in July 1966. In October, 1966 my right honourable Friend put the request for access to Mr. Gromyko in New York, and repeated it to Mr. Kosygin and to Mr. Gromyko in Moscow in November, 1966. Permission was then granted for an interview in Moscow between Her Majesty's Consul and Mr. Brooke which took place in December, 1966.

The Embassy has continued to press for another visit by Her Majesty's Consul and for a visit by Mrs. Brooke frequently throughout 1967, but without result. The Prime Minister spoke to Mr. Kosygin in London in February this year and my right honourable Friend spoke to Mr. Gromyko in New York in September. He spoke to the Soviet Ambassador again in London on 25th October and the Permanent, Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office followed this up with the Ambassador on 6th November. Despite these repeated requests, permission for further visits by Mrs. Brooke and by Her Majesty's Consul has not yet been given.