Bulgaria and Roumania (Entry Permits)

Oral Answers to Questions — Palestine – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th October 1947.

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Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham 12:00 am, 29th October 1947

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will state, respectively, how many applications by British business men, journalists and tourists for permission to enter Bulgaria and Roumania between 1st January and 31st August this year were granted, refused and unanswered in time by the Control Commissions in those countries; and what interval elapsed after the endorsement by the Foreign Office of such applications by Labour and Opposition Members of the House of Commons before they were granted.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

Is the Secretary of State aware that certain hon. Members of his party were granted entry permits within a very few days of applying at a time when applications by certain hon. Members on this side of the House remained unanswered for a number of weeks, and will any protest be made against this invidious discrimination?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT will deal with the hon. Member's first point. I have not considered making a protest. It does not seem to have much effect.

Following are the figures:
Private Persons22
Transit Permits4717
Private Persons39536

In the case of Members of Parliament, the average time that elapsed before a decision was received from the Allied Control Commission was, in the case of Roumania, two weeks for Labour Members of Parliament, seven weeks for Opposition Members of Parliament, and, in the case of Bulgaria, five days for Members of Parliament of all parties. Permission was refused to Mr. Ungoed-Thomas who wished to visit Sofia in order to attend the Petkov trial as an observer for His Majesty's Government. These figures do not include certain Members of Parliament and journalists who were granted permits by the Soviet authorities without reference to British Representatives.