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Frisian Population, Heligoland

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 19 March 1952

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6.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he is taking in the discussion of the contractual arrangements now being negotiated with the Federal Government of Western Germany for the protection of the rights and privileges of the native Frisian population of Heligoland, in accordance with the petition dated February, 1952, which the hon. Member for Antrim, South, has sent to him.

Is my right hon. and learned Friend not aware that in the Anglo-German Treaty of 1890 rights— most definite rights—were laid down? We are asking that these rights should be confirmed. What they want is that their own language—the Frisian language—should be taught in the schools. In view of the fact that that Treaty was so shamefully violated, we must ask for some guarantee.

My hon. Friend refers in his Question specifically to a petition dated February, 1952. That was a petition making an appeal for money and gifts in kind. It does not seem really appropriate as a subject for discussion.

Will not my right hon. and learned Friend read the petition again, and the numerous other petitions which I have sent in to the Foreign Office?

May I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman what arrangements he has made for the protection of the peaceful inhabitants of a place for which we have some responsibility, and who were attacked by the local police at a meeting on St. Patrick's Day in Derry? [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] Has the Minister no reply as to the protection of the peaceful citizens of Derry, who are in a majority?