HC Deb 15 November 1916 vol 87 cc787-8
73. Mr. S. MacNEILL

asked the Prime Minister whether, regard being had to the jealousy, suspicion, and distrust aroused by persons of German enemy origin and German enemy associations with sons in command of German troops in arms against the Sovereign and people of these countries, having large pensions from the public funds of this country, and the danger to the public interests produced by persons of German enemy birth and associations holding high public positions in these countries, the Government, with a view to the exclusion of Germans from public offices of rank, dignity, and emolument, will consider the advisability of introducing legislation for the re-enactment of the Articles of the Act of Settlement for the exclusion of all persons not born within the Dominions of the Crown from the receipt of Grants from the Crown, from every office of civil and military trust, and from both Houses of Parliament?


The Government quite recognise the existence of the feeling referred to in the first part of the question, but I think my hon. and learned Friend has overlooked the fact that his proposal would prevent the Empire having the benefit of the invaluable services of General Botha and General Smuts, to mention no others. That alone would make it unacceptable.


Would it not be possible to carry out the main intention of this question and yet not bring within its purview such men as General Smuts?


I do not know exactly what the intention is. If it is to prevent men of enemy sympathies having power in this country, the Government are in entire sympathy with it.


Are not General Botha and General Smuts of Dutch descent?