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Russian-Born British Wives

Volume 437: debated on Monday 5 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he proposes to instruct His Majesty's representative in Moscow to draw the attention of the Government there to the unprecedented nature of any general prohibition or effective frustration of marriages between the nationals of two friendly States.

I am not clear what the hon. Member has in mind. If he is referring to the recent Soviet enactment prohibiting marriages between Soviet citizens and other nationals, His Majesty's Government have not considered it proper or necessary to make any representations to the Soviet Government on this subject.

With apologies to the right hon. Gentleman for not being clear—although I might say that I put down the Question as nearly as I could in the terms which he himself indicated on a previous occasion—may I ask him whether His Majesty's Government do not consider that they ought to draw to the attention of a foreign Government that it is unprecedented, as between two friendly States, that marriages between the nationals of the two should be made either legally impossible or practically ineffectual?

If the hon. Gentleman says it is unprecedented, I am very unwilling to quarrel with him, because I know his reputation, but I must say I have not completely satisfied myself upon that point. Until there is some point concerned with the nationals of our own country, I cannot see that it would be proper for us to make representations.

Can my right hon. Friend say what is being done to reunite these families?

That is why I was very careful in saying that I was not clear what the hon. Gentleman opposite had in mind. His Majesty's Government will continue to bring pressure to bear on behalf of those British subjects who have been affected by the provisions of the enactment which has been referred to.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if the Soviet wives of British Servicemen are considered British subjects.

Yes, Sir; but in the eyes of Soviet law they remain Soviet citizens, with the result that under English law they are British subjects, and under Soviet law they are Soviet citizens.

Is my right hon. Friend in a position to say what nationality the children of such marriages acquire? Would he say, further, where they are, and what steps are being taken to bring them to this country, so that the families can be reunited?

So far as I am aware, there are no children. The question seems rather hypothetical.