Oral Answers to Questions — DR. Franz Krahl (Travel Document)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 1960.

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Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington 12:00 am, 28th November 1960

asked the Lord Privy Seal why the visa to enable Dr. Franz Krahl to stay in the United Kingdom has been withdrawn.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I assume that the right hon. Gentleman is referring to the refusal to renew the temporary travel document held by Dr. Krahl. Questions about visas and permission to stay in the United Kingdom are for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

The refusal to renew the travel document is in accordance with the present restrictions on the issue of these documents to East Germans, the reasons for which have been explained to the House in my speech on 4th November, and in my hon. Friend's reply in the Adjournment Debate on 15th November.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

No doubt, the right hon. Gentleman is aware that his noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has informed me that the reason for this action was because of the need for retaliation. Is he aware that this is not the only case of the kind? Surely, it is an act of gross injustice that a working journalist, whose behaviour in this country is beyond question and beyond reproach, according to the Foreign Secretary, should have his permit withdrawn? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has been dealing with this matter, and that he said that he could do nothing, but that he must withdraw the permit because the Allied Travel Bureau has acted as it has done? Surely, something ought to be done to remedy this great injustice?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

We must be clear about one thing. The visa or the permit has not, in fact, been withdrawn, but when it falls due it is not being renewed. This is important, because the arrangements which have been made, as the result of the introduction of restrictions on a tripartite basis, are that the further issue of temporary travel documents will be restricted, and it therefore applies to those who ask for new temporary travel documents as well as those who ask for others to follow the ones which they have at the moment. Therefore, this case is not a new one or the only one of its kind. It is one of the many in which action is being taken at the moment.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

If a change occurs in West Berlin at the Allied Travel Bureau, if the policy is changed, and this particular journalist is permitted to return to this country, would it not be unwise to put him to all the expense and inconvenience, and would it not be wise now for this permit to be extended, say, for a matter of three months or so?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

We have always made it plain that if these restrictions are withdrawn by the East Germans, the whole situation will be changed, but there is at the moment no indication that they are about to withdraw their restrictions. Nobody wants them to do that more than the three Western Powers; and, if they do that, Dr. Krahl will be able to come back to this country.