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Propaganda

Volume 236: debated on Monday 10 March 1930

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20.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the concluding proceedings of the Presidium at Moscow when a Report on Communist propaganda in Great Britain and the Dominions and Colonies was considered and the decision taken to instruct their agents in this country to organise strikes and riots amongst the unemployed; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the announcement made in the official newspaper, Pravda, of 28th February, by the praesidium of the Third International in Moscow, that instructions had been issued for the organisation on legal or illegal lines of mass risings and strikes in this country and the Colonies; and whether he will make representations to the Soviet Government against this breach of their undertaking to abstain from propaganda?

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that it is officially stated by the International Labour Office that the general council of the Communist International at its recent plenary meeting in Moscow issued instructions that special attention should be devoted to fomenting strikes in India and that all assistance possible should be given to the organisation of such strikes; and whether he proposes to make representations to the Soviet Government with regard to this breach of the undertaking to abstain from propaganda?

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the fact that last Thursday's unemployment demonstrations in this country were organised by the Communist party on representations from Moscow; and whether he is taking any action in the matter to avoid this interference in future with our domestic affairs?

I have seen the reports of the last meeting of the Comintern as they have appeared in the Soviet Press, the English Press, and other organs. I do not doubt that the Communist International were at pains to produce the manifestations of the 6th March. In view of the exceedingly feeble response to these efforts, I trust that no undue alarm will be felt in any quarter of this House. As I explained on the 3rd February, His Majesty's Government will not hesitate to take the House into their confidence should serious causes of complaint arise, but I would again repeat that they intend in the first instance to be the judges as to the gravity, or otherwise, of particular incidents, and the action which may be expedient and necessary to safeguard the interests of this country.

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that it is not the result of this particular action that is complained of; it is the action taken by a Power with whom we were supposed to be in friendly relations, and does he not see that, in adopting an attitude of this kind, it is a direct infringement of the Protocol?

No. I do not see anything of the kind. I repeat that the question of whether it is necessary to take action should be left to the Government to decide.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that since these questions were put on the Order Paper there has been a further breach of the Protocol by the Soviet official Press?

Why in dealing with the Soviet Government do the Government persist in suffering from inferiority complex?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the House approved of diplomatic relations on definite terms, and is not the action of the Russian Government a breach of those terms?

I have already answered that question, and I am also aware that hon. Members opposite opposed the resumption of diplomatic relations with Russia.

When the official papers of the Soviet Government announce, as is reported in to-day's Press, that it recommends a hunger march on London to start on 30th March and continue until 1st May, does the right hon. Gentleman not consider that that is a breach of the Protocol?

I have already said that this question must be left to the Government to decide.

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. May I ask whether it is within the province of the Government itself to be the judge and jury as to whether regulations have been broken or not. I would like to ask if the Government are satisfied that the regulations have not been broken.

The point raised by the hon. and gallant Member is a matter of argument, and not a matter of question and answer.

22 and 26.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1), whether his attention has been called to a letter from the political secretariat of the executive committee of the Communist International in the issue dated 1st February, 1930, of the "Communist International"; and whether he will draw the attention of the Soviet Ambassador to this propaganda advocating revolutionary activity in this country;

(2), whether his attention has been called to the fortnightly publication entitled the "Communist International," published by Modern Books, Limited, of 26, Bedford Row; and whether, in view of its connection with the Komintern and of the pledge of the Soviet Government not to engage in propaganda in this country, he proposes to make representations on this matter?

There is nothing that is either new or original about the publication known as the "Communist International." It first appeared as a monthly in 1919, and from December, 1928, it has been published fortnightly. The article in the issue of the 1st February, to which the hon. Member draws attention, deals generally with the organisation of Communist parties outside the Soviet Union, but I do not consider that it merits any action on the part of His Majesty's Government.

Is it not becoming daily more apparent that the Soviet Government have no intention whatever of keeping the terms of the Protocol?