asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information as to the reasons which led to the arrest by the Military Government in Italy of Professors Peterlin, Kuhelj and Moljk all of Ljubljana University, who were on their way to Padua University to buy scientific instruments for the rehabilitation of their laboratories; and whether he is aware that these three professors have now been detained in gaol at Padua for more than two months.
These three professors were arrested by the Italian police on 1st September for illegal entry into Italy. They were in possession of a large sum of money in Italian currency and there was no indication that they had attempted to obtain an export licence for the optical instruments which they stated they had come to buy. Since their arrest took place in a zone of Allied Military Government, they were handed over to the Allied Military authorities by the Italian police and they have been held in Padua pending arrangements for the full routine interrogation which is carried out in all such cases. This interrogation is at present taking place and if, as a result, it is proved that the professors were not guilty of anything beyond infraction of the security regulations, they will at once be released.