asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received a report from His Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow on the subject of unemployment in the Soviet Union?
Yes, Sir. His Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires at Moscow recently reported the promulgation on the 9th of October of a decree of the Commissariat of Labour to the effect that, as there was an acute shortage of labour in all industries, no provision is being made in the Social Insurance budget for unemployment payments during the current quarter.
British Embassy, Moscow
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, if it is the intention of the Government to appoint either a naval, a military, or an air attaché to the British Embassy in Moscow?
No, Sir. It is not proposed to make such appointments.
Will the right hon. Gentleman say why it is not proposed, in view of the number of armed forces possessed by the Soviet Government?
One of the reasons is that we have a little regard for economy.
If that is so, why should we not withdraw our military attaché from Holland and Denmark, where there is no army at all and send them to countries where there are armies?
asked the First Commissioner of Works when the British Embassy in Moscow will be ready for occupation; what are the terms of the lease of the new Embassy; and what rent is being paid to the Soviet Government?
It is expected that the building will be ready for occupation by January next. The premises have been taken for a period of 20 years from June last, with an option in favour of His Majesty's Government to determine every fifth year. The rent is £4,500 per annum, in addition to an initial lump sum payment of £20,000.
Would the right hon. Gentleman state if that sum includes rates and taxes?
If the hon. and gallant Member will give me notice I will inquire.
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider having another possible break in the lease, as unfortunately it was necessary in 1927 to break the lease of our premises in Moscow?
We are much more sensible than they were in 1927.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he explained to the Russian Soviet Ambassador, prior to his signing, the pledge with regard to propaganda under paragraph 7 of the Protocol of the 3rd October, 1929, that such pledge was understood by the British Government and Parliament to be applicable to the propagandist activities of the Comintern as explained by him to the House of Commons on the 18th November, 1929?
The conditions under which diplomatic relations were resumed, in accordance with the terms of the Protocol of the 3rd of October, were fully explained in my speech of the 5th of November, 1929. No further explanation was, therefore, required.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he informed the House in November last, when the Protocol was under consideration, that the pledge about to be given by the Soviet Ambassador as to propaganda, would include the activities of the Comintern? Does he not think that the House was misled on that occasion if that pledge did not include the activities of the Comintern?
I cannot admit that the house was misled for a single moment. I do not depart from the statement that I have made.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has made any representations to the Soviet Government similar to those officially announced to have been made by the French Government, protesting against the allegation officially advanced in the 10-day defence programme that the British Government have been involved with the French Government and a group of Russian professors in a plot for the invasion of the United States of Soviet Russia.?
A very long report in Russian of depositions made in the course of proceedings against certain engineers and others in Moscow has just been received, and is now being examined. If the right hon. Gentleman will put down a question for this day week, I hope to be able to inform him what action, if any, I propose to take.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any claims by British firms or companies arising from the compulsory acquisition of their property by the Russian Soviet Government have yet been considered by the Joint Anglo-Soviet Committee appointed to deal with such claims; whether any of the claimants have been called upon to give evidence; and whether the Soviet Government have agreed in principle to pay compensation in respect of any claims found by the committee to be genuine?
As I have already informed the House, all questions concerning Anglo-Soviet debts and claims are at present under discussion by the committee to which the bon. Member refers. I am not in a position to make any further statement on the subject.
Can the right hon. Gentleman answer the specific question that has been put; whether any claimants have yet been examined? Do the Government intend to let this matter drift, having regard to the millions of British money concerned?
I have nothing to add to what I have already said.