HC Deb 26 July 1915 vol 73 cc1949-50
34. Mr. R. McNEILL

asked the Home Secretary whether a German woman named Von Rotten, in the employment of the Red Cross department of the German War Office, has arrived, or is expected to arrive shortly, in England; whether her visit is at the invitation of His Majesty's Government and for what purpose; whether any and what undertaking has been given as to her freedom of movement while in this country and to return to Germany; what precautions are being taken to prevent her acquiring information that may be useful to the enemy; and, in view of the fact that an escaped German prisoner of war recently published in the German Press lying statements as to the state of affairs in England, how it is proposed to guard against the danger of Fraulein von Rotten publishing similar misrepresentations on her return to Germany?


The statements on which this question is based are inaccurate. The lady's name is Fraulein Rotten, not Von Rotten. She is Swiss, not German. She came to this country last Wednesday. She is not connected with the German Red Cross; and the English Government did not invite her and had no knowledge of her coming. She is secretary to a Women's Emergency Committee in Berlin which has done very useful work for English women stranded in Germany and also for English soldiers in German hospitals. She had previously been resident in England, and she came here, I am informed, partly on her private affairs and partly to confer with a ladies' committee in London engaged in similar work to her own. On arrival at Tilbury she was subjected to a very stringent search, and her papers were retained for examination; but this was done, not because any suspicion attached to her, but as part of the precautionary measures now taken in regard to all persons, even of friendly nationality, coming from Germany. Her movements here are all known to the police, and the fullest precautions have been taken, but I am quite satisfied that no danger can arise from this Swiss lady's visit to England, and that she is entitled to our gratitude for her philanthropic work.