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Hungary (Mr Edgar Sanders)

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 20 February 1952

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will consider taking steps similar to those taken by the United States Government on behalf of their nationals in order to obtain the release of Mr. Edgar Sanders from his imprisonment in Hungary.

Her Majesty's Government will not neglect any practicable steps that may be open to them to secure Mr. Sanders' release, which they continue to regard as a major question affecting Anglo-Hungarian relations. But the release of the American citizen, Mr. Vogeler, was obtained in return for certain concessions by the United States Government which Her Majesty's Government have never been in a position to offer.

Will the Minister keep in mind the fact that the position at the present time is certainly most embarrassing, so far as this country is concerned, and that it places us in a position of apparent humiliation? Will he give the House a description of the concession which the Hungarians obtained from the United States of America and which we ourselves cannot give?

The main concession which the United States were able to offer in order to get Mr. Vogeler released consisted of the re-opening of the Hungarian Consulates in New York, and I think Cleveland, Ohio. These had previously been closed in January, 1950, in retaliation for the treatment of Mr. Vogeler by the Hungarian authorities, but there are, and have been, no Hungarian Consulates in this country which could be re-opened in return for a similar concession.