East German Citizens (Visas)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th November 1960.

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Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington 12:00 am, 24th November 1960

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many citizens of East Germany who received permits to reside in the United Kingdom have had their visas withdrawn in retaliation for the action of the East German Government in Berlin.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Is not the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that I have made representations to his right hon. Friend about a working journalist now resident in this country who is quite innocent. Why should this innocent person be penalised because of the action of the Allied Travel Bureau in Berlin?

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

The Question relates to the withdrawal of visas, and, as I say, no visas have been withdrawn. The right hon. Gentleman has already been given an explanation in a letter from my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary as to why in a particular case an extension of stay is not being granted after his travel document expires.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Is not the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that I have in my possession a letter from the Foreign Secretary in which he declares quite plainly that a visa has been withdrawn, and, giving the reason, states quite plainly that this is in retaliation for something which happened in East Germany? Does he not know what is going on in his Government?

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

With respect to the right hon. Gentleman, I do not think that his supplementary question arises out of the Question he has put down, and it sounds, from the second part of it, as if it is a matter which should be pursued with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

While it may be that the visa technically has not been withdrawn, is it not the fact that, when a visa expires, the Departments concerned, both the right hon. Gentleman's Department and the Foreign Office, will not extend the permit as they have done previously in other cases? Why cannot the hon. and learned Gentleman say at least that he will agree to give an extension when the visa normally expires? Will he give that assurance?

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

Visas are frequently issued on condition that there is a valid travel document, and when the validity of the travel document expires so does the validity of the permit to remain here. The question of expiry of the travel document is one for the Foreign Office.