§ 20. Mr. R. McNEILL
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been directed to a group of persons calling themselves a "peace committee," of which J. S. Duckers, C. H. Norman, and Ethel Bellis hold themselves out as chairman, treasurer, and secretary, respectively, with an address at 66, Charing Cross Road; whether he is aware that these persons are engaged in distributing pamphlets of a character harmful to the national interest in relation to the War; if he can say whether any uninterned alien enemies or persons of hostile origin or association are in co-operation with this group; whether he will take steps to ascertain the source from which they obtain such financial support as they possess; and whether, having regard to the fact that their propaganda, although without influence, is offensive to the patriotism of the public, he proposes to take any measures to provide against the danger of the persons named being lynched or assaulted in an outburst of popular indignation?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir John Simon)
The Attorney-General has already stated, in reply to questions, that the activities 1797 of the group of persons referred to are under his consideration. As regards the last part of this question, such violence as the hon. Member contemplates would call for the severest repression, and a great responsibility would attach to anyone who might be supposed to suggest that it was excusable.
§ Mr. McNEILL
Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to reply to the question as to whether he has taken any steps to avoid that danger, in view of recent experience?
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Would my right hon. Friend say whether he does not think it inadvisable to advertise such an insignificant and obscure organisation?
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these people are guided by a publication which has a large circulation, which says, "Blessed are the peacemakers," and will he have this book suppressed?