HC Deb 04 February 1915 vol 69 cc126-8

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Government are endeavouring to induce employers to give employment to enemy aliens; and what is its reason for so doing?


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the London police have been used as an instrument for replacing interned alien enemies in their former positions in London; whether he is aware that in some cases these aliens are replacing British subjects; and, if so, whether he will explain why the police have been thus used?


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if police constables have been calling on hotel and restaurant proprietors asking them to engage German and Austrian waiters who have been interned; and, if so, what is the reason for such action?

36. Mr. PETO

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is his intention to continue to use members of the Metropolitan Police force to secure employment for alien enemies as waiters in hotels and restaurants in London?

41 and 42. Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he has given general instructions to release a number of alien waiters and hotel servants, and, if so, wiry this is desirable now more than at any other period of the War; and (2) whether it is by his authority that the police have called upon employers of labour with a view to finding employment for interned aliens, and, if so, why the police should help them rather than Englishmen?


I have never employed the police to find work for aliens released from internment and I have no intention of doing so. In view of the prominence recently given to the matter in the Press and the many fantastic statements which have been published, I should like to give the House the actual number of Germans and Austrians who after release have obtained employment in an hotel, restaurant, or boarding-house in London. In the four months from the beginning of October to the end of January the total number is sixty-two. Of these thirty-two are Czechs, Poles, Alsatians, or other nationalities who, although technically enemy aliens, are in sympathy with this country. Of the latter seventeen were released in January. The remaining thirty have been released after full inquiry and upon money bonds, the sureties being British-born subjects. During the month of January—which covers the whole period when it has been alleged that waiters were being reinstated by the action of the police—the number of released aliens, not including the friendly nationalities already referred to, who have gone back to employment as waiters was three—one German and two Hungarians (one of whom was of Roumanian parentage). I would ask the House, in judging of the reliance to be placed upon the charges made against the action of the police, to compare these figures with the statements made in the Press, which have gone so far as to say that 3,000 cases, 40 per cent. of which were waiters, had been dealt with in London alone. The Commissioner informs me that there is no foundation for the allegation that the police endeavoured to obtain employment for enemy aliens. In a few cases persons whose names had been given by prisoners in their petitions as willing to employ them on release have been questioned for the purpose of seeing if the statement was true; but they have never done more than ascertain the facts required by the War Office. The stories that independent organisations have worked in co-operation with, or have been employed by, the Home Office in order to find work for released aliens are also unfounded.


Will the aliens who have been released still remain under police supervision?


Yes, they will still remain subject to the Aliens Restriction Act.


What paper gave the figures of 3,000 men?


I think I had rather not refer to individual newspapers. As my hon. Friend knows the charges have been extremely general.