asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made by the British Government since they came to office in March 1974 to secure the release from imprisonment in Spandau Gaol of Rudolf Hess; what replies have been received; and if, in the light of the Helsinki accord, he will undertake now to press this matter more firmly.
My right hon. Friend the then Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, made representations to the Soviet Ambassador in favour of Hess's release on 29th October 1975, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised the question again with the Soviet Foreign Minister, Mr. Gromyko, in March 1976. Regrettably, the Soviet response was totally negative in each case. In Her Majesty's Government's view, the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act are not relevant to Hesss' case. We are, however, always ready to consider and take any steps likely to lead to agreement between the four Powers concerned on Hess's release.