We are in close touch with the Australian Government, who have appointed a Royal Commission to investigate the case of Mr. Petrov. The interrogation is at present in progress, but such information about Messrs. Burgess and Maclean which has so far been elicited is of a limited and general character, and it is not yet certain whether it is based on Petrov's personal knowledge or on hearsay. I will consider making a further statement in due course.
Would my right hon. and learned Friend assure the House that the results of such inquiry as is made are made available to the public in the United Kingdom? Further, will he consider endeavouring to arrange that Mr. Petrov is made available for interrogation by the officials of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom?
I will certainly bear that in mind. So far as the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question is concerned, I have said that I will consider making a further statement in due course. But it should be remembered that in these security matters it is important not to let the other side know how much we know.
Will my right hon. and learned Friend assure the House that there will be no complacency in this matter, that we shall not adopt the attitude that, as Burgess and Maclean have gone, it is best to forget all about it? Will he bear in mind that the revelations that have been made so far by diplomats who have defected from the Soviet Union have revealed spy rings in Canada, the U.S.A. and Australia and that it would be gratifying but none the less surprising if there were not similar opportunities of revelations in regard to this country?
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that a man who confesses that he has for years been conducting a system of threats and spying and, at the end of it, betrays his own side is not necessarily the most reliable witness?