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Israel (Eichmann Trial)

Volume 639: debated on Wednesday 3 May 1961

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asked the Lord Privy Seal whether Her Majesty's Government received an invitation from the Israeli Government to send an official observer to the Eichmann trial; and what reply was sent.

All diplomatic missions in Israel were informed some time ago that they should apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if they wished a permanent seat at the trial to be reserved for them. We were later told informally that seats at the trial could be provided for legal observers. We decided on practical grounds, in view of the very full Press coverage which the trial would receive, not to take up either offer.

In view of the overwhelming historical importance of this trial, in view of the contribution which Britain made to the ending of the tragic era that this trial represents, and in view of its importance to Israel and to humanity at large, would not the Minister agree that it would have been more sensible for the British Government to have followed the example of nearly every other Government in the world and accepted this invitation?

No. I do not think that mere attendance at the trial has any implication. Our position in relation to this matter is abundantly clear. I do not think that merely attending the trial would have made any difference.