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Germany (British Children, Soviet Zone)

Volume 478: debated on Monday 18 September 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why passport facilities were granted in the case of the children of Mr. Geoffrey Hains, on the strength of a forged application, as a result of which these British-born children are now in the Eastern zone of Germany; and what action he proposes to take.

The passport application was made out by the mother of the children and was not a forgery. The letter accompanying it, purporting to convey the father's consent to the inclusion of the children's names on the mother's passport, was a forgery. It would be impracticable to check the authenticity of every letter of parental consent and such letters are accepted as genuine if there is no reason to suspect fraud. There was no reason to suspect it in this case. I regret that there is no action I can take in this matter while the mother and the children are in the Soviet zone of Germany.