North Vietnamese Students (Admission)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th October 1967.

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Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West 12:00 am, 26th October 1967

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on the request for visas for visiting students from North Vietnam.

Photo of Mr William Griffiths Mr William Griffiths , Manchester Exchange

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he refused to allow three Vietnamese students to stay in London, for the purpose of accepting an invitation extended to them by a London student organisation.

Photo of Mr Alistair Macdonald Mr Alistair Macdonald , Chislehurst

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state his reasons for refusing entrance to this country to the three Vietnamese students who hoped to speak at a recent meeting at the London School of Economics.

Photo of Mr Roy Jenkins Mr Roy Jenkins , Birmingham Stechford

I have nothing to add to the speech made by my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State on 23rd October. —[Vol. 751, cols. 1430–44.]

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West

Can my right hon. Friend assure me that the letters sent to me on 3rd and 27th July do not represent a categorical decision of principle against such visits? In what circumstances can such visits take place?

Photo of Mr Roy Jenkins Mr Roy Jenkins , Birmingham Stechford

I cannot answer hypothetical questions. They were in line with the policy which we have pursued for a number of years, but, of course, all relevant considerations are always taken into account.

Photo of Mr William Griffiths Mr William Griffiths , Manchester Exchange

Can we take it that the Home Secretary is saying that no one invited to visit this country from Vietnam to explain the position of North Vietnam will be allowed into the country for that purpose?

Photo of Mr Roy Jenkins Mr Roy Jenkins , Birmingham Stechford

I was asked why we did not allow these students to come in, and this matter was very fully and, I thought, very admirably explained by my hon. Friend earlier in the week.

Photo of Mr Alistair Macdonald Mr Alistair Macdonald , Chislehurst

Does the decision in principle not to allow students from Vietnam to come in override the expression of opinion that all sides of this debate should be heard?

Photo of Mr Roy Jenkins Mr Roy Jenkins , Birmingham Stechford

I think that all sides of this debate are heard. I must say that my hon. Friend is on a false point when he gives particular weight and status to these individuals as students. They were fairly advanced in age for students. While, clearly, there is room for different points of view on this issue, their alleged status as students was not a new factor in the situation.

Photo of Mr William Molloy Mr William Molloy , Ealing North

In matters of this context, is my right hon. Friend's responsibility merely administrative with the policy made by the Foreign Office? Can that be cleared up?

Photo of Mr Roy Jenkins Mr Roy Jenkins , Birmingham Stechford

For so long as I am Home Secretary, any Ministerial decision announced by the Home Office will be something for which I shall take full responsibility. At the same time, as is only sensible, we take into account wider considerations, including foreign policy.