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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that the Bulgarian Government have not yet paid compensation to the relatives of the British passengers in the Israeli aeroplane which was shot down over its territory in 1955; what steps he has taken to press for this compensation to be paid; and with what result.
The answer to the first part of the Question is "Yes, Sir." Since the submission of the claim for compensation for the relatives of the United Kingdom citizens killed in this accident, representations have been made to the Bulgarian Government on several occasions, but with no result.
The claim was submitted on 12th March, 1956; Her Majesty's Minister at Sofia raised the matter with a Vice-Minister in the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 21st August, 1956; on 31st January, 1957, he addressed a strong Note to the Bulgarian Government asking for proposals for a settlement as a matter of urgency; and on 15th March, 1957, he again took the matter up with a Vice-Minister in the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Does not the hon. Gentleman think it is a matter of very serious gravity that two years afterwards no compensation has been paid, in spite of the promise made at the time, to the relatives of the victims who were brought down in a murderous manner without any excuse? Does he not think that pressure should be brought to bear continuously and as effectively as possible on the Bulgarian Government to get compensation for those concerned?