§ 6. Mr. Woodall
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will raise again with the Soviet authorities the case of Ida Nudel who has been waiting 12 years for permission to leave the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Malcolm Rifkind)
We will continue to take suitable opportunities to raise this case with the Soviet authorities.
§ Mr. Woodall
Is the Minister aware that during the past few weeks reports have been received to the effect that Ida Nudel is not receiving the letters sent to her by her family and friends living abroad? Does that not constitute a breach of the universal postal comvention? Will he seek to have this matter placed on the agenda of the next Universal Postal Congress, which is to be held in Hamburg next year?
§ Mr. Rifkind
We shall consider what the hon. Gentleman said. There is no doubt that Miss Nudel has been treated badly in her application to emigrate from the Soviet Union. Her application was originally refused on the ground that in her previous employment she had had access to classified information. As her previous job, before she was dismissed, was in an institute concerned with hygiene standards and food shops, it was a somewhat improbable explanation.
§ Mr. Lawrence
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the fact that Ida Nudel was the winner of the all-party committee for the release of Soviet Jewry award some two years ago, as was Josef Begun last year, who has been sentenced to solitary confinement "for unsatisfactory behaviour", and whose case I hope my hon. Friend will raise at the same time as that of Miss Nudel?
§ Mr. Rifkind
The cases of Ida Nudel and Josef Begun were raised on several occasions by our representative at the conference in Madrid, and I pesonally raised the case of Miss Nudel when I saw Mr. Kornienko in Moscow earlier this year. We shall continue to look at other methods of pursuing the case, including that suggested by the hon. Member for Hemsworth (Mr. Woodall)
§ Mr. Anderson
Is the Minister aware of reports that Soviet officials are signing registered letter receipts on behalf of Jewish refusniks and thus preventing them receiving mail from abroad? Is he also aware that a number of Hebrew books have been banned in the Soviet Union, including "The Ugly Duckling" and "Sleeping Beauty"? Both actions appear to be in complete breach of the Helsinki undertakings. Will the Minister make representations on the matter?
§ Mr. Rifkind
The hon. Gentleman is right to draw attention to the various ways in which the Soviet Union is failing to carry out its responsibilities under the Helsinki agreement. The example that he gave suggests that the Soviet Union's determination to prevent sensitive information from reaching its own citizens extends beyond the wildest realms of fantasy.