HC Deb 13 January 1916 vol 77 cc1743-4

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the crew of the British submarine which sank off Texel on the 6th instant, having sprung a leak and grounded, who were rescued by a Dutch cruiser and brought into Helder, have been interned at Groningen by the Dutch Government; whether, having regard to the fact that the British submarine whose crew were thus rescued was not sunk by a belligerent, the detention or internment of that crew by the Dutch Government is contrary to the principles and practice of international law; whether Article 13 of Convention X., of the Second Peace Conference, providing that if shipwrecked sailors are taken on board a neutral man-of-war precaution must be taken so far as possible that they do not again take part in the operations of the war, applies only to sailors whose ships have been wrecked by the enemy, not to sailors whose ships have been wrecked in the ordinary course of navigation; and whether Great Britain will demand the immediate release from detention of these sailors, whose case does not differ from that of any other British subjects in neutral territory, and who should, even if their ship had been dis- abled by a belligerent, as in the case of the Russian sailors rescued by British, French, and Italian cruisers from ships disabled by the Japanese, be not detained but handed over to Great Britain on the condition that they should not take part in hostilities during the War?


The crew of the E 17 has been interned by the Dutch Government, but the place of internment is as yet unknown to His Majesty's Government.

The answer to the second part of the question is that Article 13 of Convention X. of The Hague draws no distinction between ships wrecked by the enemy or in the ordinary course of navigation. As to the remainder of the hon. Member's question, I will see that the suggestions and arguments put forward by him are very carefully considered.


Thank you.