HC Deb 27 August 1914 vol 66 cc146-7
48. Mr. HUNT

asked whether aliens caught in attempting to cause injury to persons or property in this country will in the future be tried by court martial, and, if found guilty, shot?


Persons found committing damage to railways or guilty of other offences against Part II. of the Defence of the Realm Regulations will be tried by court martial. The maximum punishment is penal servitude for life. Alien enemies who commit acts of destruction could be tried by court martial and sentenced to death, but this course will not be taken except by special leave of the Army Council.

49. Mr. HUNT

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that there are still thousands of German and Austrian aliens employed in this country, also some managing hotels and public-houses, and in view of the fact that there are many British and Irish people unable to find employment, he can see his way to prevent the employment of German and Austrian aliens during the continuance of the War?


I do not think that I can take the action suggested. Indeed, one of the problems which is causing my Department the greatest anxiety is that of dealing with the large number of Germans and Austrians in this country who have lost their employment and are rapidly becoming destitute.


Surely—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"]—the most urgent business of the Government is to provide first of all for their own people!


Yes, certainly; but I am afraid that if the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman were carried into effect, there would be a great disruption of trade, which would be injurious to our own people.


Could not our own people—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"]


The hon. Member cannot enter into an argument.

50. Mr. HUNT

asked whether aliens are any longer to be allowed to register themselves as British subjects during the War, in view of the fact that alien enemies in this country, if allowed to register as British subjects, would have greater opportunities of creating damage and disturbing the public peace than if unregistered?


Aliens cannot "register themselves as British subjects." If the hon. Member uses that phrase as equivalent to "obtain certificates of naturalisation as British subjects," I can assure him that no such certificates will be granted unless I am satisfied that the applicant is a person from whom no danger is to be feared.