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Russia (Mrs Stan Harding)

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1922

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will inform the House what is the exact position in which the claim of Mrs. Stan Harding against the Russian Soviet Government for compensation in respect of illegal imprisonment and theft on arrival in Russia with a safe conduct from the Soviet authorities, which was supported by a special despatch from the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, now stands?

Mrs. Stan Harding's claim will be put forward together with the claims of other British subjects if and when the negotiations with the Soviet Government at The Hague reach the stage at which such action can be taken.

Is the hon. Member aware that this claim was put forward at the Genoa Conference, and that an express demand was made many months ago by the Foreign Secretary, and is it not unfair to this unfortunate lady that her claim should not be met while trading agreements are being negotiated? Should not a matter of this kind, involving the liberty of a British subject who was, admittedly, under a safe conduct which has been infringed, take precedence of a trading arrangement?

It is a matter of importance, but my hon. Friend does not realise that there is a great number of other cases.

Is there any precedent, for referring a case of insult and injury to a British subject to w economic conference?