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Volume 439: debated on Monday 30 June 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received any information from the British representative on the Allied Control Commission in regard to the present position of the President of the Hungarian State; and if he will make a statement.

I have no information which leads me to suppose that President Tildy is not exercising his powers as President of the Hungarian Republic.

Is the Foreign Secretary generally satisfied with the situation in Hungary?

Is my hon. Friend aware that I myself had a discussion with President Tildy on 10th June, and that he expressed the view that he had full freedom to carry out his duties as President and was not impeded in any way?

Electoral Law


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the fact that the present Hungarian Government proposes to carry out a purge of electors, which would mean that between 180,000 and 200,000 would be disfranchised; and whether he will protest against this, in view of Article III of the treaty, as well as of the Yalta and Potsdam Agreements.

My right hon. Friend has received reports that the Hungarian Government are preparing a revised electoral law, the object of which would be the exclusion from their suffrage rights of elements said to be anti-democratic. His Majesty's Government cannot decide whether a protest will be called for until they can judge what the effect will be of any such law promulgated.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the term "antidemocratic" is extremely elastic, and that under this term a very large number of citizens may be disfranchised?

Has my hon. Friend's attention been drawn to the fact that in a statement attributed to one of the Hungarian Vice-Premiers the other day, it was stated that no change in the franchise was contemplated?

I have not had my attention drawn to that report, but I have seen a newspaper report to the contrary recently.

Can the Minister state what the Hungarian Government means by "undemocratic"? Have they defined that expression? Does it mean "anti-Communist," or what?



asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that Monsieur Tibor Ham, a smallholder deputy, who is one of 43 Hungarians on trial for conspiracy against the State, stated in open court that he had been treated in such a manner that he was unconscious for nearly a week and because of his treatment in prison he did not know what he had signed in a deposition read to the court, accusing the ex-Premier, Mr. Nagy; and whether he will protest, through the British representative in Budapest, against this treatment of opposition deputies, in violation of Article III of the treaty with Hungary.

According to my information, Mr. Ham stated in his evidence on 17th June that he had been treated in such a manner that he was reduced to a state in which he might have signed any- thing. As the hon. Member is aware, the Peace Treaty with Hungary is not yet in force. Nevertheless, the publicity which this Question has given to the case will, I am sure, impress upon the Hungarian Government the attention with which such events are followed by Members of this House, and indeed by the whole outside world. It will also bring home to them the fact that when the Treaty comes into force His Majesty's Government for their part do not intend to acquiesce in the violation of Article 2.

Does the hon. Gentleman think that pious hopes of this kind have the slightest effect on a Communist Government?

Has the hon. Gentleman any evidence whatever that Mr. Ham was telling the truth?

Soviet Government (British Note)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has yet received any further reply from the Soviet Government to his last note, with respect to the recent Hungarian crisis-Mr. Mayhew: No, Sir.