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East Germany

Volume 654: debated on Monday 19 February 1962

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will state Her Majesty's Government's policy regarding contacts between this country and East Germany, with particular reference to visits to such events as the Leipzig Fair by persons in this country.

At the present time contacts with East Germany can be used to give the impression, wrongly, that this country condones the continuing illegal and inhuman stoppage of free movement in Berlin by the East German régime as well as the continued Communist threat to the freedom and security of West Berlin. Therefore, in the view of Her Majesty's Government, persons in this country should take into consideration this risk of misrepresentation, in relation to their own standing, before engaging in contacts with, or visits to, East Germany, both generally and, in particular, for such events as the Leipzig Fair.As regards the Leipzig Fair, experience has shown that it is used to win support for the claims of the East German régime to international recognition. The Fair provides an opportunity for inviting visitors from abroad, who very often have no direct commercial interest in it. Whether they have such an interest or not, the East German authorities try to ensure that their presence at the Fair is widely exploited and that they return home with a false impression of conditions in East Germany and of the political support enjoyed by the régime.