HC Deb 15 March 1915 vol 70 cc1747-8
66. Mr. McNEILL

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether Count Ergon von Bassewitz and his brother Count Adelbert von Bassewitz were brought to England as prisoners of war; whether either of these officers was formerly on the staff of the German Embassy in London and well-known in London society; whether one, and which, of the two brothers was recently set at liberty and is now at large in London; whether he was released on any and what conditions; and for what reason this German officer, possessing exceptional opportunities for obtaining information likely to be useful to the enemy, is allowed freedom in England at the present time?


I am informed that the Christian names of two gentlemen the hon. Member has in mind are Egon and Albrecht, and not as stated. The former was taken prisoner of war and is now interned at Holyport. Count Albrecht was arrested in September last as having served in the Germany Army. It appeared that he had served only one month and was certified as unfit. I understand that he was never attached to the German Embassy in London, although he lived here for some years. He remained in arrest until 17th October, when he was released, a surety bond having been executed. He was suffering from asthma and was in delicate health. The conditions of his release were that he should observe the terms of the Aliens Restriction Order, and not assist the King's enemies.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these aliens are relations of the Hohenzollern family, and has that fact had anything to do with the leniency shown to these two gentlemen?


I am not aware of the fact.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether two Germans, of fighting age, named respectively, Von Jena and Guradze, who were attached to the German Consulate at Cape Town before the outbreak of War, and who landed in England in August and have since lived in Hampstead, have now been allowed to return to Germany in order that they may join their regiments and fight against this country; and, if so, will he explain why they have been allowed to do so?


I understand that these men were repatriated under the agreement for the mutual exchange of Consular officers.