Oral Answers to Questions — Refugees (Soviet Communications)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 1952.

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Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes 12:00 am, 24th July 1952

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that numerous refugees from Soviet-dominated countries, and in particular refugees from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, have recently received communications from the Russian Consulate-General; that the receipt of these communications has caused considerable anxiety; what investigation he has made into the methods used to discover the names and addresses of refugees; and what steps he will take to stop this leakage of confidential information.

Photo of Mr David Maxwell Fyfe Mr David Maxwell Fyfe , Liverpool, West Derby

I am aware that such approaches have been made and have in some cases aroused anxiety. The names and addresses of refugees can be obtained from a number of quite open sources, and inquiries which have been made disclose no evidence of leakage of confidential information.

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that the intelligence service of the Russian Consulate-General is apparently so good that when refugees move their place of residence, or go to a new place of employment, they receive communications within a few days of moving? If I send him evidence, will he look further into this question?

Photo of Mr David Maxwell Fyfe Mr David Maxwell Fyfe , Liverpool, West Derby

Certainly, but I would remind my hon. and gallant Friend that there are sources, as I have said—mail addressed to aliens which is scrutinized in the country of origin; names and addresses provided by repatriates and intending repatriates; and other names in advertisements in emigré newspapers—which I cannot stop. I should also remind him of the answer of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, in which an assurance was given that there is no reason for the people concerned to tolerate any interference with their personal liberty.