Orders of the Day — Prince Paul and Princess Olga of Yugoslavia

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 17th November 1942.

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Photo of Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid , St Marylebone

This mottling. He made a personal attack upon me in such a manner that it left the door wide open to rude retorts in return had I desired. His famous and respected father would never have descended to such second-rate methods, which I have hot the slightest intention of following. The facts that I put forward do net require personal abuse to bolster them up. When the Under-Secretary was not abusing me he was misquoting me. He suggested that I had said that Prince Paul was living a life of luxury and ease at the expense of the British Government. I had said nothing of the kind. I challenged him at the time and he was unable to substantiate that terminological in-exactitude. He said I had tried to make out that Prince Paul was "a dangerous tiger." On the contrary, I said that he was a "traitorous rat." If the Undersecretary thinks that rats are tigers, it may prove very awkward for him some day if he reverses the mistake. I had pointed out that our favoured treatment of such an enemy of Yugoslavia and of Russia was open to be misunderstood by those countries. The Under-Secretary's naive reply was to accuse me of making Yugoslavia and Russia mistrust us—an elementary retort not unlike that of the small boy who puts out his tongue and shouts, "Sucks, you're another."

On the day that the Government spokesman replied to my speech we had from my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) one of the most brilliant and forceful contributions it has ever been my pleasure to listen to in this House. The Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs referred to it as a "rollicking" speech, dismissing it with a sneer and so avoiding giving any reasoned answer whatever. When it came to my turn—and my most pertinent and direct questions were significantly left unanswered—it had become abundantly apparent that they would have been replied to soon enough if the answers had been favourable to the Government. No doubt the House will appreciate why these questions were left unanswered when I tell them what they were: (1) Is the traitor Prince Paul, who is a political prisoner in Kenya, allowed on occasions to go about by himself? (2) Whether Princess Olga, like her husband, is also a political prisoner and, if not, why not? (3) How is Princess Olga's arrival in this country reconciled with the fact that the Government have made a strict rule that no foreigner should be allowed into this country unless our direct national interests justifies such a course? (4) On similar compassionate grounds, would the same facilities to come to this country be given to an ordinary loyal British woman residing in Kenya as has been given to the royal wife of a foreign enemy of this country?

I think that the House will agree that these are reasonable and important questions and that they should be answered. If they are not answered, grave misgivings are bound to remain and to grow. In spite of any insults that are yet to be hurled at me in future by those who are temporarily in power, I intend to pursue this matter until I get satisfactory assurances.