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Soviet Zone (British Officer's Detention)

Volume 481: debated on Wednesday 22 November 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement about the detention of Flight Lieutenant Driver by the Russian authorities in Germany.

On 5th September, Flight Lieutenant Driver force-landed in the Soviet zone of Germany. When our authorities asked for his release, the Soviet authorities intimated that they would exchange him for Lieutenant Bystrov, a Soviet officer who had sought political asylum in the British zone a few days previously. His Majesty's Ambassador at Moscow has pointed out to M. Gromyko that the Soviet authorities may verify for themselves that Lieutenant Bystrov is a political refugee, and that to surrender him against his will would be contrary to the generally accepted practice in regard to the right of asylum. There is no parallel between the cases of Lieutenant Bystrov and Flight Lieutenant Driver and the detention of the latter is quite unjustified. His Majesty's Government are aware of the anxiety caused Flight Lieutenant Driver's relatives and will continue to make every effort to secure his release.

Can the Foreign Secretary say whether this officer has been well treated?

I have not yet had a report from those who got in contact with him, but I will let the hon. Member know.

Can the Foreign Secretary say whether this officer was visited by a British officer or other British representative?