Communist Activities

Oral Answers to Questions — Burma – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th September 1948.

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Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington 12:00 am, 20th September 1948

asked the Prime Minister if he will set up a Commission on the lines of that which inquired into the Canadian spy activities appointed in Ottawa under Order in Council of 5th February, 1946, and publish their findings.

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham East

I have been asked to reply. I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to him in answer to a Question on Thursday, 1st July. 1948, to which he has nothing to add.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

Am I to understand from that reply that, while paying lip-service to the Communists, the Government have not the courage to stand up to their fellow travellers and take effective steps to eradicate this grave menace from Great Britain?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham East

If I may say so, I think that hon. Members on this side of the House are in a far better position to deal with Communists than the hon. Member opposite.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

asked the Prime Minister if in view of the growing menace of Communism he will set up a Royal Commission on the lines of the Committee on un-American activities of the Congress of the U.S.A., with power to call witnesses and to take evidence on oath to inquire into Communist activities in Britain.

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham East

I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister does not think that the appointment of a Royal Commission for this purpose is necessary.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

Has the Lord President of the Council, or have the rest of the Members of the Government responsible, seen any of the reports of this Committee on un-American activities? Is he aware that the conditions therein revealed are equally applicable to this country, and would he take immediate steps to stop similar happenings in this country to those in other parts of the world?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham East

I have seen some of the Press reports of the activities of this Committee and, with great respect, although I express no opinion as to its suitability in the United States, I do not think this method of procedure would be appropriate in Great Britain.