Tdeep controversial feelings aroused by the prospect of Marshal Tito's visit to Britain—probably next March—flared up in short but sharp exchanges in the Commons on Monday.
Mrs. Alice Cullen, a Catholic, ended by telling the Foreign UnderSecretary, Mr. Nutting, that "more than 3,01)0,000 loyal subjects in this country will not welcome Marshal Tito but will protest very vigorously."
Mr. Michael O'Neill, Irish Nationalist, asked the first question and was followed by Mr. E. Fernyhough (Labour, Jarrow), who wanted to know the purpose of the visit.
Mr. Nutting said that it is hoped that the visit will provide an opportunity to continue with Marshal Tito the exchanges of views on subjects of common interest which took place when Mr. Eden visited Belgrade in September.
Mr. O'Neill: Is the hon. gentleman aware that Christian opinion in this country, in Scotland and in Northern Ireland is indignant that this man should be asked here while he continues to persecute religious denominations in his own country?
Would he assure us that he will take steps, on the occasion of this visit, to make it known to Marshal Tito that there can be no friendly co-operation or friendly relations with his country while this persecution of the Church and the clergy lasts?
Mr. Nutting: I am aware of certain expressions of opinion by prominent churchmen in this matter. No doubt those expressions of opinion have found their way to Yugoslavia.
Mr. Fernyhough: Is the Minister aware that Marshal Tito is an unrepentant Communist and claims to be the only faithful disciple of Marx and Lenin in any State today?
In view of that, will he give an assurance that those who attend the reception which the Government will presumably al range for Marshal Tito when he is in this country will not he accused subsequently of being fellow travellers? Mr. Nutting: That is a very hypothetical question.
Then came two expressions of different opinion.
Mr. R. W. Sorensen (Labour, Ley ton): Is the Minister aware that Christian opinion in this country is as varied as political opinion and that there is certain Christian opinion which thinks that Marshal Tito is as good a Christian as General Franco?
Mr. N. N. Dodds (Labour, Dartford): Will the Minister remember that Marshal Tito represents a country which lost twice as many people killed in the late war as Britain and America together, in fighting against Italy and Germany?
Mr. Nutting: I am certainly aware that there is a mixture of opinion on the benches opposite.
'Protests pour in' Under the heading "Tito protests pour in," the Daily Express reported on Wednesday: "M.P.s of all parties are getting letters from Roman Catholic constituents protesting against Marshal Tito's visit to Britain from March 23 to March 28."