HC Deb 27 March 1919 vol 114 cc576-7
74. Commander Sir EDWARD NICHOLL

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the importation of both Bolsheviks and their propaganda into this country, he will say what attention has been given by the authorities to the landing of alien seamen, enemy and otherwise, at the various British ports trading direct with the Continent, and of the fact that no restrictions are placed upon their going ashore and communicating with undesirables already in this country; and whether, especially in view of the present Continental unrest, he will take such steps as are necessary to stop this alien peril?


I have been asked to reply. This question appears to be based on a misapprehension. It is not the fact that no restrictions are placed upon the landing of alien seamen in this country. On the contrary, the closest possible control is kept over this matter, with the view of guarding against various dangers, including those suggested in the question. All alien seamen are closely scrutinised by experienced officers, and if any seaman gives cause for suspicion he is refused leave to land and a military guard placed on the ship. If any alien of enemy nationality were discovered among the members of a crew he would be at once arrested and handed over to the proper authorities for internment.


Is it not a fact that these men are allowed to go to and from their ships as they please at the present time?


No, Sir. According to my information they are only allowed to go to and from their ships subject to certain restrictions.

Brigadier-General COCKERILL

In regard to the restrictions made during the War, has there been any relaxation of them sanctioned since the Armistice?


I understand there has not.

Brigadier-General CROFT

Is it not a fact that a vessel has arrived from Russia with 200 Letts on board?


I must ask for notice of that question.