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British Minister, Seoul

Volume 477: debated on Monday 17 July 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when last the British Minister in Seoul communicated with him; and what news he has about his present safety and whereabouts.

The last communication received from Mr. Holt was a telegram dated 26th June. His Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow wrote personally to Mr. Gromyko on 4th July requesting him to secure any available information about Mr. Holt and the few members of the British community in Seoul. Mr. Gromyko has now informed the Ambassador that Mr. Holt is at present in Pyongyang.

Can the Under-Secretary confirm that Captain Holt stayed at his post in Seoul in exercise of a discretion entrusted to him by the Secretary of State? Can he also say if any attempt is being made to give any help to him which he wants?

I can give the assurance which the hon. Gentleman asks for in regard to the first part of his supplementary question. With regard to the second part, we are giving urgent consideration as to what steps it may be possible to take to facilitate Mr. Holt's departure and that of his companions.

May I ask my hon. Friend if he has any information about the Bishop of Korea; and, if Mr. Holt is in the town on which 400 tons of bombs were dropped last week, what steps are being taken to secure his safety?

We have no definite statement about the Bishop of Korea, but we hope that he is one of the other persons known to be safe in Seoul.