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Hungary (Elections)

Volume 466: debated on Monday 4 July 1949

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50.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reports he has received on the conduct of the recent General Election, or plebiscite in Hungary; to what extent the action taken by the Hungarian Government to eliminate all political opposition culminating in the holding of this plebiscite infringes the terms of the Yalta Agreement and of the Peace Treaty with Hungary; and what action His Majesty's Government will now take to seek to enforce the terms of the Peace Treaty.

The recent elections in Hungary permitted only candidates of the so-called People's Front, which had the approval of the Government. It was emphasised that an adverse vote or an abstention would be regarded as equivalent to treason. No publicity was allowed for views opposed to those of the Government. The elections were not in fact designed to give the Hungarian people an opportunity freely to elect representatives of their own choice. As regards the second part of the Question, there is no doubt that these elections were completely contrary both to the spirit and to the letter of the Yalta Agreement and of the Treaty of Peace with Hungary. As regards the third part of the Question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply returned on 27th June to my hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. T. Reid). This describes the endeavour of His Majesty's Government to enforce the terms of the Peace Treaty.

In considering methods by which we can enforce the terms of a peace treaty, is reconsideration being given to our whole trade policy with Hungary and the other countries in the Marxist bloc, or is it still completely divorced from politics?

There have been several statements made on our trade policy. Our trade policy rests on mutual advantage, and I cannot see that the objective of the hon. and gallant Member would be furthered by discrimination against this policy of mutual advantage.