- (1) Every former enemy alien who is now in the United Kingdom Shall be deported forthwith unless he shall within one month after the passing of this Act make an application to the Secretary of State in the prescribed form to be allowed to remain in the United Kingdom, stating the special grounds on which such application is based, and unless the Secretary of State after due inquiry shall grant him a licence to remain.
- (2) The applicant shall advertise notice of his application in some paper circulating in the district in which he resides or in which, if he is interned, he was residing previously to his internment.
- (3) The Secretary of State may, not less than one calendar month after the date of such advertisement, if he is satisfied that there is no adverse report on the applicant by the military or by the police authorities, grant such licence, subject to such terms and conditions (if any) as he shall think fit, on any one or more of the following grounds, namely:
- (a) That the applicant., although a former enemy alien, is in fact a member of a nation or a race hostile to the States recently at war with His Majesty and is well disposed to His Majesty and Govern neat;
- (b) That the applicant is seventy years of age or upwards and has been at least fifteen years resident in the United Kingdom;
- (c) That the applicant is suffering from serious illness or infirmity of a permanent nature;
- (d) That the applicant has one or more sons who voluntarily enlisted and served in the British Navy or Army or the Navy or Army of one of the Allied Powers;
- (e) That the applicant has lived for at least thirty-five years in this country and married a British-born wife;
- (f) That the applicant, although her husband is a former enemy alien living abroad or denorted, was at the timeof her marriage a British subject or citizen of an allied State.
- (4) If the application for a licence is made on any ground other than one or snore of those above specified, the Secretary of State either shall refuse the application or may, if he is satisfied that owing to the exceptional circumstances of the case deportation would involve serious hardship of a personal nature on the applicant, grant him a licence under this Section.
- (5) In granting a licence under this Section, the Secretary of State may include in the licence the wife of the applicant and any child or children of his under the age of eighteen.
- (6) A list of the persons to whom such licence is granted together with a statement of the special grounds on which it is granted and of the exceptional circumstances (if any) under which it is granted shall, as soon as may be after the granting of the licence, be published in the Gazette.
- (7) Any licence so granted may be at any time revoked by the Secretary of State.
- (8) If such licence is not granted or if, having been granted, it shall be revoked, the Secretary of State shall make an Order (in this Act referred to as a Deportation Order) requiring the alien to leave the United Kingdom and thereafter to remain out of the United Kingdom for a period of seven years after the passing of this Act. The Secretary of State may, by a Deportation Order, require the alien to return to the country of which he is a subject or citizen.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move to leave out Clause 8.
The Home Secretary was to have moved to leave out Clause 8, but unfortunately the Government were beaten the other day. The Whip was cracked, and their followers came to heel. But at a private conference in Downing Street the Government made this bargain with the Gentlemen below the Gangway, that if they would allow the alien pilot to come in the Government would go back on what they thought right and would allow Clause 8 to remain in the Bill. Clause 8 is now to stand. I would ask those who believe in reasonable and right and not in secret bargains in Downing Street, to vote, as they would have voted if there had not been this secret bargaining, in favour of removing this most hate-breeding Clause. This Clause provides that an alien who remains in this country, who has been examined by the Committees of Mr. Justice Younger and Mr. Justice Sankey, ha, passed those Committees, has passed the cross-examination of the police and the cross-examination even of the hon. and learned Baronet the Member for York (Sir J. Butcher), should once again be harned or removed from the country. It was only natural that when the Home Secretary saw this Clause in the Bill he said, No; these people have been examined 1246 once or twice already. Everyone has been expelled during the War against whom anything can be brought. We will not have these people harried again, just because they belong to an enemy country." Not only a German, but an Austrian, a Bulgarian, or a Turk who is now in the United Kingdom, man or woman, shall be deported forthwith,unless he shall within one month after the passing of this Act make an application to the Secretary of State in the Prescribed form—The Home Secretary managed to get the gentlemen of England to allow that to be extended to two months—to be allowed to remain in the United Kingdom, stating the special ground on which such application is based, and unless the Secretary of State after due inquiry shall grant him a licence to remain.(2) The applicant shall advertise notice of his application in some paper circulating in the district—So that they may all know about it. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] So that they may all point at his children at school, and jeer at his wife. These are mostly poor people, to whom the cost of advertising is a very considerable item. [An HON. MEMBER: "Half a crown ‡"] I should like to see the newspaper that would put the advertisement in for half a crown—in which he resides or in which, if he is interned, he was residing previous to his internment.(3) The Secretary of State may, not less than one calendar month after the date of such advertisement, if he is satisfied that there is no adverse report on the applicant by the military or by the police authorities, grant such licence subject to such terms and conditions (if any) as he shall think fit on any one or more of the following grounds, namely:(a) That the applicant, although a former enemy alien, is in fact a member of a nation or a race hostile to the State recently at scar with His Majesty and is well disposed to His Majesty and his Government.That is to say, that he is a traitor to his own country.(b) That the applicant is seventy years of age or upwards, and has been at least fifteen years resident in the United Kingdom;(c) That the applicant is suffering from serious illness or infirmity of a permanent nature;(d) That the applicant has one or more sons who voluntarily enlisted and served in the British Navy or Army or the Navy or Army of one of the Allied Powers.If the boy was compulsorily enlisted, whatever honours or distinctions he may have won, that still does not exempt his father from immediate deportation—(e) That the applicant has lived for at least thirty-five years in this Country and married a British-born wife.1247 If he has married an American it is all up with him. I think it is proposed that twenty-five years' marriage to a British-born wife is to be enough to prevent the husband being deported to Germany——(f) That the applicant, although her husband is a former enemy alien living abroad or deported, was at the time of her marriage a British subject or citizen of an Allied State.The British-born wife of an enemy alien deported will not have to be sent abroad, and will not be forced to go to a country where she does not know a word of the laitquage—(4) If the appllcation for a licence is made on any ground other than one or more of those above specified, the Secretary of State either shall refuse the application or may if satisfied that owing to the exceptional circumstances of the case deportation would involve serious hardship of a personal nature on the applicant, grant him a licence under this Section.That is the Clause which was put into the Bill by the hon. and learned Member for York when it went through Committee. I say without fear of contradiction that everybody who was a Member of the last House of Commons and who was on the Committee would vote against the Clause. I believe you have in those few who survived from the last House of Commons the few survivors of those who regard the honour of England as being their most sacred possession. I fear that the Home Secretary often considers that the safety of England comes before its honour. I and those on these benches, as well as those who are ready to vote on this question to-night in the old English sense, consider that honour comes first and safety second. It may be that by harrying these people you may prevent continued residence in this country of some men of Bolshevist views or something of that sort, but it is far better that these people should still be here and even able to propagate their views rather than that the old English right of asylum and the old rule of treating as friends those people with whom you are not at war, of making no distinctions, after war is over, tending to perpetuate the feeling of hatred—it is better that we should incur certain risks than sacrifice all that which England has stood for in the past, and sacrifice it at the behes1 of people who do not know what the honour of England is.
§ Major O'NEILL
I beg leave to second the Amendment, not from any love of Germany, but because of the experience 1248 which I gained on Mr. Justice Younger's Committee. That has convinced me that this Clause has been conceived and drafted without a knowledge of the position in regard to enemy aliens in this country as it is to-day. I understand that this Clause was inserted in Committee on the Bill. against the wishes of the Government, and I understand, moreover, that those who are responsible for this Clause urge as a. reason that all they are doing is to carry out the pledges given by the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor at the General Election. I have taken the trouble to look at those pledges. Any pledge which the Prime Minister gave at the General Election was directed, not against enemy aliens in general, but against enemy aliens in this country who had plotted against this country and have spied against this country. Let me quote some words which the Prime Minister used at the election. At Queen's Hall he saidthey have forfeited their claim to remain. I have repeatedly said that in my judgment these people, having abused our hospitality, must nut get another opportunity of doing so.He was clearly referring to those enemy aliens who had abused our hospitality Former enemy aliens who are now in this country, and at whom this Clause is aimed, do not come within the class of those with regard to whom the Prime Minister gave this pledge. When I say that, let us for a moment see who are the former enemy aliens at present in this country. First of all, there are some 21,000 men enemy aliens who have never been interned at all during the whole course of the War, and those people still remain in this country. Secondly, there are 3,920 of those who were interned during the War but who have been exempted from deportation by Mr. Justice Younger's Committee, of which I have been a member. Those 3,920 men are the balance of a total of some 24,000 enemy aliens who remained interned at the time of the Armistice. So that, as regards the interned enemy aliens, you have this position. At the time of the Armistice there were 24,000 of them, and to-day 20,000 of them have been repatriated, and you have only got 3,920 left. You have got the 21,000 who were never interned and the 3,920 who are all that remain of those who were interned. Let me first deal with those whom I may call the ex-interned aliens—that is to say, the 3,920. On the 3rd of April this year an official statement was made in the House 1249 of Lords to the effect that interned enemy aliens in this country at that time would be dealt with by a Committee to be set up under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Younger as he then was. That official statement was, in effect, a promise to the enemy aliens then in the country that their cases were to be tried by this tribunal, and that, once their cases had been investigated by that tribunal, that would be an end of it either one way or the other. That was the promise made in the House of Lords. Every enemy alien whose case was investigated by us made a statement to us in writing from his internment camp. Every statement was carefully considered by that Committee, and hon. Members who have taken the trouble to read our Report, which was published either to-day or a few days ago, can judge for themselves whether we have based our recommendations upon reason and justice or upon absurdities. We considered every man's case most carefully.
Just consider what the position would be if this Clause were passed, so far as the men whom our Committee dealt with are concerned. It means that the whole of our labours during the summer have been utterly wasted, and it means that this Committee, which was appointed as a result of a promise given in the House of Lords, and from which I think it might be taken that effect would be given to its recommendations, all that is to go for nothing, because under the first Sub-clause of this Clause, every enemy alien now in this country is to be deported unless he once again makes representations in writing to the Home Office. That is the position with regard to the men who are left of those who were interned, and whose cases have been carefully considered by the Committee. And it is proposed that we should reopen the whole of their cases again. Let me refer to those who were never interned at all during the War. Of those there are about 21,000 left in this country. Every one of those men has been favourably reported on by the police and by the military authorities during the War. Their cases have been reviewed and they have been exempted by two Committees which have sat during the War, each of them under the chairmanship of a judge of the High Court, and after the close scrutiny of their cases, which of course would be necessary in war-time with regard to people who were enemy aliens and nationals of countries with whom we 1250 were at war. In 1915 a Committee was appointed under, I think, the chairmanship of Mr. Justie Sankey, to investigate those cases of enemy aliens then in the country. All those with regard to whom there was the slightest suspicion that they were unfriendly to this country were interned at the instance of Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee in 1915. That Committee practically got rid of anybody who might be called at all dangerous, and so those dangerous people passed into the numbers of the interned, and I have no doubt whatever in saying that to-day they are to be found among those of the interned who have found their way back to Germany—that is to say, they are among the 20,000 who have been deported from this country. Therefore the uninterned have already had their cases twice scrutinised and carefully investigated by two Committees presided over by a judge of the High Court. By this Clause both of these classes to whom I have referred, namely, those never interned at all and those left of the internees, are lumped together.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I am sure my hon. and gallant Friend does not wish to deceive the House, but may I point out I was a member of the Committee in 1918 presided over by Mr. Justice Sankey, and know a good deal as to what took place there? Of those persons who were uninterned by far the greater portion were never twice scrutinised, and were let out in the earlier years of the War. I only interrupt on the point as to the cases being twice scrutinised.
§ Major O'NEILL
I was not a member of the 1918 Committee, but I know, so far as the cases which have come before Mr. Justice Younger's Committee are concerned. a very large number—I will not say all—were scrutinised by two Committees. As the hon. and learned Member knows, the 1918 Committee was appointed owing to the popular clamour, and possibly a right clamour at that time, against enemy aliens of all kinds. That Committee was appointed not to weed out the dangerous men, that had already been done, but its function was to extend the age of residence which would qualify a man to stay on, and it also decided to put available men into the Army and the younger men who had grown up since the 1915 Committee. Whether I am right in saying that every uninterned enemy alien has had this scrutiny by two Committees or not, the fact remains that every unin- 1251 terned enemy alien has had to face the scrutiny of a Committee, and in my contention in many cases of two Committees.
§ Major O'NEILL
This Clause, as amended by to-day's Paper by the Home Secretary, lumps all clases of enemy aliens together, and it proposes that they shall be examined once again by yet another Committee to be set up under this Bill. I do not often agree with my hon. and gallant Friend who moved (Colonel Wedgwood), but I must say it really does seem to me absurd that you should continue, as he said, harrying these people by another Committee, when they have already, every one of them, experienced investigation by one or two Committees, and some of them in this very year. With regard to the Committee which it is proposed by this Clause to set up, it is not to be a Committee which is to have complete discretion, because it is to be bound by certain very definite and specific rules. That is really an impossible condition for any Committee which is to undertake work of this kind. Working as I have done on the Committee presided over by Mr. Justice Younger, we have from the beginning found that it has been impossible to deal with these enemy aliens except with regard to every case individually. You may frame a certain list of categories, as has been done here, but it is quite impossible to bring all the cases within those categories. For instance, it is said here that a man may be granted a licence to remain if he is seventy years of age or upwards, but what about the man who is sixty-nine and a half? Because a man is seventy he may have been in this country two years, but he is to be allowed to stay. If a man is sixty-eight years of age, a single man, who has remained here for forty-five years, he has got to go. Does not that show the absurdity of trying to bring these cases within any particular category? Take again category (d), where it has got to be shown that the applicant has one or more sons who voluntarily served in the Army. I agree that we ought not to make a distinction between voluntary and compulsory service once a man has served in the Army. But take category (e), where if he has lived for at least twenty-five years in this country and has married a British-born wife he may stay. What about the man 1252 who has been in this country for twenty-four years and has married a British-born wife? He may have five or six small children who know no other language than English and who have been educated entirely here. That man would have to go, whereas another man, because he has lived in the country six months longer, is to be allowed to stay. I need not continue these instances. They show how absurd is the very idea of trying to deal with these people in categories in this way.
It is possible only to do as our Committee has done this year, and that is to deal with these questions upon the individual merits of each case. Again, this Clause completely ignores the claims of the British-born wives and children of these enemy aliens. The Committee upon which I have been sitting always regarded the claims of British subjects as of primary importance. We did not care so much about the Germans or the Austrians, but what we did care about was the British-born wives and children of these aliens, and if there was anything which did come to our notice it was the terrible hardships which would be inflicted upon these British-born dependants if at one fell swoop you were to banish them from the country. But this is what you would be doing. You would be putting before the British dependants one of two terrible alternatives. The wife or the children have got to decide whether they will go with their husband or father to a country which they loathe, Germany, or whether they will stay in this country separated from the husband or father whom they love. The Committee upon which I sat had many terrible and most pathetic cases of this kind to deal with. We often had a woman come to us, an Englishwoman, as patriotic in many cases as an Englishwoman could be, and say, "Do let my husband out. He is a German. I hate Germany. I loathe everything to do with Germans. I am disgusted at the way in which they have carried on the War. But he has been a good husband to me and a good father to the children." Then we have said to her, "If he goes to Germany, will you not go with him?" And she has said, very often, "I could not go to Germany. I could not face being with Germans, a British woman." We have said, "Which would you rather do?" And I can assure the House that in many instances that woman has been unable to answer because she has broken down and wept. And that is 1253 the terrible alternative that this Clause proposes to place before British women and British children. I presume my hon. Friend the Member for York and his friends, who are, I understand, responsible for this Clause, agree that it is possible to deal with these cases by means of cast-iron categories. Is that so?
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Yes. We propose to deal with them bye way of categories as the primâ facie reason for exemption, as we did on Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee. We reserve by this Clause a general discretion in proper cases for the Committee to exempt, just as in Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee we did reserve to ourselves, and exercise, a discretion to deal with exceptional cases.
§ Major O'NEILL
I am not as experienced as my hon. and learned Friend in interpreting Clauses, but I cannot see in the Clause as drafted, or even as amended to-day, where the proper discretion lies. It seems to me that the Committee have got to abide by these categories or nothing at all, and the only thing that I can see is so far as it is personal to the man himself. But what about the British wives and children? However, to go back to the more general point, as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme has said, the Government have completely changed their face upon this question. A few days ago the Amendment to delete this Clause stood in the name of the Home Secretary. That was the considered policy of the Government after they had had months of experience on this aliens' question. It was their considered policy that the proper way to deal with the enemy aliens in this country was under the powers which they now possess under the 1914 Act. The Home Secretary has complete powers to do practically anything he likes with regard to getting rid of any individual alien in this country, but as the result of a Division in which the Government were defeated on the question of pilots, they have reconsidered this question, and they have retreated, and they now propose to accept, apparently, the principle of this extraordinary Clause. For the sake of some twenty alien pilots, they are going to sacrifice thousands of British-born women and children under the provisions of this Clause. The powers now possessed by the Home Secretary are large enough, as I have stated, in my opinion, for dealing with 1254 this matter. He has got powers for prohibiting aliens from landing, for prohibiting them from embarking, powers for deporting them and so on, already under the 1914 Act, and surely all that is necessary is that those powers should be continued, and, if necessary, renewed in a year's time, because I am the last in the world to say that the Home Secretary should not have power to deport a man. He should have power to deport an undesirable alien, but he has got that power now, and I cannot see why we should accept in principle this Clause, which is going to carry the matter so very much further.
I suggest that the Home Secretary should return to the position in which he was, and that he should agree to the withdrawal of this Clause. I think that is only fair reasonable and just. In his own mind, he knows prefectly well that is the only logical thing possible. But if he will not do that, I appeal to the Home Secretary—I wish the Leader of the House were in his place and I could appeal to him—after the Debate which will take place on this question, to leave it to the free decision of the House, and it is my conviction that if the Government Whips are taken off, this House will assert its ancient principle of freedom, or rather, I should say, of just treatment for those who have already been subjected to so many inquiries and commissions during the War. The alien who has done the country any harm, or who has in any way shown himself unfriendly to the country, has already left the country among the 20,530 who have been repatriated since the Armistice. Nobody has a scrap of sympathy with those people, and, so far as Lord Justice Younger's Committee was concerned, they ruthlessly deported anybody who came before them. But if I have in any way succeeded in convincing the House of the true state of affairs as it exists with regard to aliens, I cannot believe they will decide to deport in the time of peace those thousands of men, with many thousands of dependants, British-born women and children, who, during the necessarily drastic consideration of their case during the last five years, have successfully established before impartial tribunals of Englishmen, their right to remain in this country even in time of war.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
This proposal to leave out Clause 8 is supported by as 1255 strange a Parliamentary combination as I remember in the course of recent periods. It is supported, on the one hand, by the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
And who is obviously desirous of having as many Germans as he can get in this country. I suppose he forgets the murder of non-combatants on our ships at sea, and who, when they were in boats trying to make their escape, were fired at by these friends of the hon. and gallant Member.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Is it in order to deal with the whole subject of hate-mongering on an Amendment which is devised to expel aliens a year after the War?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. and learned Gentleman is giving reasons which may be good or bad, and which may or may not commend themselves to the hon. and gallant Member.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I should be indeed sanguine if I thought any reasons I gave for anything would commend themselves to the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, especially if I call to his mind some of the reasons, at any rate, Why people in this country are not desirous to have these beloved Germans amongst us in the future. I have said enough to indicate the state of mind of the hon. and gallant Member, who, notwithstanding these unheard-of atrocities perpetrated by Germans, and approved by the German Government, is still anxious to have Germans remaining in our midst. Of a very different type was the speech of the hon. and gallant Member who seconded this Motion. He was animated, so far as I could judge, largely by British interests, with which I entirely sympathise. I think he was deceived, because he did not quite know the facts, and because I do not think he quite understood the scope of this Clause. But, before I go further, I wish on my own part, and I think I may add on the part of those Friends who have been acting with me, to repudiate in the strongest manner the suggestion of the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme that there has been any bargain as to this Clause in any shape or 1256 form. It is suggested that we were bribed to vote on the second occasion for the Government Amendment to the Pilotage Bill by the promise of all these suggested changes in this Bill. I say positively there is absolutely not a shadow of truth for this suggestion. I voted for the altered form of the Pilotage Bill because I had not realised the fact before, and I believe that was what most Members of the House did.
As regards the present position of the other Amendments to the Aliens Bill, what happened was what, I believe, happens with any Bill of any importance. People who are supporting one view go to the Minister and put their view before him, and in this case there were conferences, such as occur in almost every case, and ought to occur, in order to get the conduct of the business of this country satisfactory. So far as details were concerned, I think we managed to come to an agreement. So much for that point. I hope, after what I have said, I shall hear no more about it. Some of these observations are the product of a diseased imagination. I do not, however, think I need discuss that point of view any more, because I do not think it commends itself to the House. Let me address myself to what fell from my hon. and gallant Friend opposite. May I remind the House what are the real facts? In the earlier days of the War there were a very large number of Germans and other enemy aliens uninterned — something like 21,000 or 23,000. At the end of 1918 the Government of the day, considering that that was a very large number of persons to be exempted, even with a special reason—and the matter having been constantly brought to their attention —appointed what is known as Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee.
§ Major O'NEILL
Would the hon. and learned Gentleman say how many were interned as a result of action in 1915?
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
About 24,000 or something like that, and about an equal number were left uninterned. It was in order to reconsider the cases of the very large number of persons left uninterned that Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee was appointed. On that Committee there was represented every section of this House, Unionists, Liberals, one Labour Member, and a member of the Irish party. There were then about 22,000 enemy aliens uninterned, of whom nearly 12,000 were 1257 Germans, while a little over 10,000 were other enemy aliens. That Committee, on which I sat, commenced, in the first instance, to deal with 3,200 Germans, and of that number about 2,500 were exempted from repatriation. We said to them: "You can still remain uninterned." The rest were repatriated or interned.
§ Major O'NEILL
May I remind the hon. and learned Gentlemen that in this Clause no distinction whatever is made between people whom he exempted and whom he interned?
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I was coming to that. Let me say at once, as regards those Germans and other enemy aliens exempted from repatriation or internment by Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee, that I am quite willing that they should remain here. If the Clause, as drafted, or amended, does not carry that out I am quite willing it should be so; and also that the Germans and others exempted by Mr. Justice Younger's Committee this year should also remain exempted. I believe the Government have the same view, that those exempted by Mr. Justice Younger's Committee this year, and Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee of 1918, shall remain here.
§ Sir R. ADKINS
Can the hon. and learned Gentleman show the House any line in the Clause that either of these masses of persons will remain exempted now?
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
The Home Secretary is to be advised by an Advisory Committee as to whom he shall and shall not exempt. If that is not clear, let him say so at once. If there is nothing in the Clause at present exempting these persons to whom I refer, there ought to be something. I have no objection to that. It is the proper thing for the Government to do this.
§ Major O'NEILL
I would like to ask whether the hon. and learned Gentleman would have become a member of Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee in 1918 if that Committee had had placed upon its deliberations the kind of limitation that he proposes to place upon this new Committee?
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I say at once that I should have been extremely grateful for an expression of Parliamentary opinion 1258 as to the conditions under which we should work. I should have been most grateful for assistance from Parliament. But, to come back to what I was saying: Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee considered 3,200 cases out of 12,000, and exempted 2,500 of them. We must bear this in mind—and I do ask the House to consider it. There are at the present moment nearly 19,000 former enemy aliens uninterned. Of this 19,000 there are something like 8,000 Germans whose cases were never considered in 1918. My right hon. Friend said once or twice that the cases of all these uninterned persons had been considered twice. That is not the case. There are at this moment 8,000 or more whose cases were never considered by Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee. That is not all. There are at this moment almost 8,000 enemy aliens other than Germans whose cases were not considered in 1918 by Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee, so that you have all these thousands whose cases were not considered. Why? Because at the end of 1918 the work of Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee was arrested, and we did not resume it. It is in order mainly to deal with those persons who never came under the consideration of the Committee of 1918 that I want this Clause. Here are 19,000 people still at large in this country, and I venture to say that we ought to have the proposed Advisory Committee to consider the case of these persons; to exempt such as ought to be exempted and to deport the rest. That is the object of the Clause. My hon. and gallant Friend opposite, when I say that that ought to be done, challenges the pledges that we gave—we and the members of the Government. He suggested the Prime Minister only wanted to deport or promised to deport only those who had been found guilty of spying or something of the sort. That is not how I read the pledge. On 6th September, 1918, the Prime Minister in the course of a speech said:After what has happened it is quite impossible to entertain in our midst a population of which a considerable portion has. to say the least, abused our hospitality. They spied, they assisted Germany in passing plans for the destruction of the country, and if opportunity had offered them, they would have assisted in the execution of those plans to ruin the land that gives them shelter. They have therefore forfeited any claim.—On 10th December, 1918, the Prime Minister said:There is a lady here who wants to know whether Germans are going to be turned out of 1259 the country. I can assure you that we will see to that. I have repeatedly said that in my judgment these people—That is the Germans—having abused our hospitality must not get another opportunity to do so.Is not that a pledge which nearly all of us gave? It is a pledge which I gave myself, and if I were going to give a vote in defiance of a pledge which I gave to my constituency and on the face of which I got my majority, I should feel myself a disgrace and a discredit to this House. It is the duty of any hon. Member before he violates a pledge of that kind to go back to his constituency and say, "this is a pledge on which I got in, will you release me from that pledge? Unless you do that I am not the man to violate a pledge of that kind." The Lord Chancellor said at Bournemouth:I tell you here as a Minister of the Coalition Government that it is the declared policy of that Government to send back to Germany every Bosche in this country.There is no doubt about that. I am sure hon. Members opposite would not wish us to violate pledges which have been given by the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor. Such pledges were not only given by Ministers but by Members of this House, and we are not going back upon them. As I was a member of the Sankey Committee, let me inform the House upon what principles that Committee acted. We found that in order to deal with these cases it was absolutely necessary that we should lay down certain primâ facie categories of exemption, such as men over seventy, a man who was infirm, a hopeless invalid, and a man who has married a British wife and has British children, and when we found that a man fell under one or other of these categories and there was nothing further against him, such exemptions were to be allowed; but we reserve to the Committee the power also of dealing with exceptional cases, because there were other cases which did not fall under those categories, but were such for which we thought a person might reasonably be exempted, and power was reserved to deal with them. Those are the principles on which the Sankey Committee acted, and they have been embodied literally in this Clause. In the Clause as originally drafted all the exemptions were not included, but the Home Secretary has put down certain 1260 Amendments which will practically embody all the principles upon which the Sankey Committee acted. That Committee got together all the information they could acquire after investigating some thousands of cases, and we facilitated their action by giving wide discretion in proper cases upon their own responsibility. I think I have now answered the hon. Member who talked about hampering the Advisory Committee. We are bound to have a Deportation Clause, and we are bound to deport a certain number, and I think the hon. Member opposite agrees with that.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
We are saying that they are to be deported subject to exemption by the Advisory Committee. What I think we ought to do in this Clause is to have a statutory enactment that if some enemy aliens are subject to certain exemptions, namely, those laid down by the Advisory Committee in accordance with the principles upon which the Committee acted, that is all we require, and if there is anything in the wording of the Clause to which my hon. Friend or anyone who acts with him take objection, I am not particular about the actual words, but upon those broad principles I ask the House to say that we are proceeding upon a proper system and giving proper discretion to the Committee. Subject to that I think this Clause will carry out justice on the one hand, and full justice to any alien who can show a right to remin here It will, at the same time, do justice to our own people who are entitled to have removed from their midst any alien who does not come within those categories.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir E. Pollock)
Perhaps the House will permit me to say a few words about this Clause. Upon this matter I stand in a very unfortunate position, because I have not been a member of either of the Committees which have been referred to, and I did not take any part in the proceedings upstairs. However, my name is upon the Bill, and I have been considering during the past few days the questions which arise upon these Amendments and the Clause as it stands. The hon. and gallant Member who moved to delete this Clause suggested that the Amendments which were now being moved in respect of this Clause were 1261 the consequence of some bargain which was struck in regard to the question of pilots. The hon. Baronet the Member for York (Sir J. Butcher) has denied that categorically.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Had not the Government originally an Amendment to delete this Clause, and was it not deleted from the Paper after that meeting?
§ Sir E. POLLOCK
Everybody knows that the Amendment was to delete the Clause on the Paper, but that is not the point. What the hon. and gallant Member said was that a bargain was struck, the terms of which were that if the House would agree to alter and repudiate the Amendment carried against the Government on Thursday week, that then these Amendments embodying the terms which the hon. and gallant Member read out—seventy years and twenty-five years, and so on, and he went through them categorically and said those were the terms if the House would consent to abandon its vote that this Clause should, stand on those particular points, and he read out specifically those terms as part of the bargain. I am quite sure the hon. and gallant Member will accept from me the statement that that is not so. What happened was that up to the very last moment this Clause has been considered, and the question of what Amendments and alterations should be made in it was a matter of perfectly free discussion by the Members who took part, and who were interested in the Clause. It is quite unfair and inaccurate to say there was any bargain of the character suggested by the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood). I approach this Clause from a somewhat in dependent standpoint. The hon. and gallant Member always stirs my blood a bit when he talks about the honour of old England, the right of asylum, and so on. I sympathise with and I know what the feelings of some of his constituents of Newcastle-under-Lyme must be when they hear him at his best. When considering what is to be done in a Bill of a permanent nature like this, because, although in all its features it is not permanent it is for all practical purposes largely permanent in its Clauses, ought we not as a parallel, rather to take what we have done in the past on previous occasions when what I may call an alien peril has had to be dealt with? May I remind my 1262 hon. and gallant Friend—I am sure it is only reminding him, because he knows it quite well—that in the year 1793 stringent measures were taken against aliens, and throughout the Napoleonic Wars stringent regulations were maintained until the year 1816, when we got into a period which corresponds largely to that of the present day? The war was over, Waterloo had been won, and we were in the condition of looking forward to peace. In 1816 an Aliens Bill—a stringent Bill and a very strong Bill—was passed, refusing the right of aliens to come into this country and giving powers to deport them. That Bill was passed for two years. In 1818 it was reimposed, and in 1820 it was again passed for two years. In 1822 it was further renewed for another two years, and, if my memory serves me—I have not refreshed it —I think it was not until the year 1826 that conditions were supposed to be sufficiently normal to allow a much more easier system of dealing with aliens to be introduced. It was not until something more than ten years after the Battle of Waterloo had been fought that we were in a condition to offer this right of asylum or to offer that generosity which the hon. and gallant Member desires to see offered as soon as may be.
I venture to offer these considerations to the House, because I think it is quite wrong to taunt hon. Members with acting under some form of panic or with being pressed to do what is either ungenerous or unwise or imprudent at the present time. We have an historical parallel for being very cautious in the way in which we proceed to withdraw the restrictions upon the immigration of aliens and to abandon the right to deport aliens. I approach this Clause, therefore, with a consideration for the safety of the country. The hon. and gallant Member for Mid Antrim (Major O'Neill) spoke with all the emotion that belongs, and rightly belongs, to a hardworking member of Mr. Justice Younger's Committee. He saw behind him the files of cases he had examined and the work the Committee had done, and he was a little bit afraid all that work would be thrown away if this Clause is introduced. It is quite obvious there are two views. One is that you must have some power to deport. Most hon. Members will agree there must. be some such power. Equally, you want to give full opportunity to all those persons who may remain with safety and against whom it would be very hard to impose too severe a penalty. The hon. 1263 Member recalled cases of women's tears. We do not ask him to forget them. But although a woman's tears may be very impressive one must have regard to public safety, and after that the safety of the alien who is allowed to remain. I believe you would not secure safety for those allowed to remain unless you satisfied the public conscience that proper and adequate steps had been taken and were constantly being taken to ensure that no alien likely to be a danger to the country was allowed to remain. If you do that, then we may secure the right of asylum and proper safety to those who ought to be allowed still to remain among us. We have these two views—the right to deport and the right to allow proper persons to remain. The problem is how to do it. It is said, "Leave it entirely to the discretion of the Home Secretary." I think the hon. Member for Mid Antrim has forgotten one thing. This Clause pays a greater tribute to the work of the Committees that have sat than would a mere Clause giving wide discretion to the Home Secretary. What does it do? It embodies in the Bill the experience of the working of these Committees. If the hon. Member will give a little attention to the Clause he will see it stands in this way. The Advisory Committee will advise, and when they have advised and come to a conclusion on the ordinary naval, military or police reports, they are to say this, that if the alien falls into one of various categories set forth in the Clause, then primâ facie he has a right to stay. That, in fact, embodies in the Bill the experience and wisdom of the Committees.
Sir R. ADKI NS
If that be the true interpretation, why is there nothing in this Clause, and particularly in its first Section, to prevent the 4,000 exempted by Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee and the 3,000 exempted by Mr. Justice Younger's Committee from having to make a new application and to state special grounds?
§ Sir E. POLLOCK
I am not able to answer my hon. and learned Friend's question with accuracy. I would like to say I came here not really fully acquainted with the actual numbers of persons who have been dealt with by those Committees, I am informed, I believe not inaccurately, that there is a certain number of persons who were undergoing the research of the later Committee whose labours were stopped by the Armistice. The hon. and learned Gentleman will agree 1264 with me that it is not right to say that all those persons have been already examined by two Committees.
§ Sir E. POLLOCK
That enforces what I say, that not all of them have been examined by two Committees. I think we may agree upon that. If that is so, one has to consider now whether these categories are wisely included in the Bill. To some extent they give a charter to the alien, because, if he falls within the categories, primâ facie he has a right to remain. In other words, Parliament says to the Advisory Committee, "If you are satisfied that any particular alien falls within these categories, then you can report that he should be exempt." It gives, so to speak, the principle of standards according to which the Committee can work. Short of that you are not taking advantage of what has gone before. If you put the Clause in you will be giving what I do not think has ever yet been given to the alien, that is standards or categories under which, if he falls within them, he has a right of exemption. I would ask hon. Members who are thinking this over from the point of view of a sense of justice and right to say whether they would prefer a simple Clause giving power to deport or that the categories should stand as standards and guidance for the Committees to act upon, and giving the right to the alien to remain if he falls within the categories. It must not be forgotten also that it is necessary to deal with the question of cases which fall very near the line. My hon. and learned Friend put the case of an alien who, instead of being seventy, was sixty-nine and a half. If he will look at Sub-section (4) he will see it says,If the application for a licence is made on any ground other than one or more of those specified—The Home Secretary may refuse the application or, if satisfied that owing to exceptional circumstances deportation would involve serious hardship, grant a licence. It gives the Home Secretary a right to discretion, and the Advisory Committee can say, "Although the particular standard is not reached in a particular case, yet we advise that your discretionary power should be exercised." Equally he is not necessarily bound to act in all cases, because in Sub-section (3) the words are:The Secretary of State may.1265 Hence the Secretary of State is given a discretion either way, but the alien has the advantage of having his case brought to certain standards and if he is within those standards, primâ facie his right of exemption remains. In a difficult case it is better to introduce some specific Clauses into the Bill and not to leave the matter merely at discretion for this reason, as well as those I have already assigned, that if you leave it entirely to the discretion of the Home Secretary it is quite possible that you may have some popular clamour again arising. If you put this specific statement in the Bill you do a lot to prevent any such clamour arising. If there is to be a satisfactory solution of this problem and if the cases which have been examined by one or other of these Committees in which aliens have been allowed to stay are allowed to stand and satisfaction has been reached in respect of their cases, then you may rightly ask that no clamour should arise and prevent their living in safety and without any sort of alien hunt arising. In this Clause we give the right to deport, the right to remain and the right of allowing the alien to remain in safety. Having given some consideration to this case I commend it to the House.
§ Mr. J. H. THOMAS
The Solicitor-General opened his speech by intimating that he was in a very fortunate position, inasmuch as he was able to approach this question without previously having committed himself. I thought he was going to follow it up by saying he was in that very fortunate position because his very distinguished colleague alongside him was in such a very unfortunate position. He proceeded to say that so far as the Government is concerned the inclusion of this Clause is no part of the bargain made at the conference at Downing Street. I readily accept that. But if it is no part of the bargain what is the explanation, what is the excuse, what is the justification for the Government, in the name of the Home Secretary, putting a Motion to delete this Clause the last time the Bill was before the House? The Government were defeated on a matter entirely foreign to the Clause. A conference was called at Downing Street and the Press announced a satisfactory settlement of the dispute. Every Member who was interested in the subject assumed that the satisfactory settlement had some reference to the 1266 point in dispute. We were all entitled to imagine at least that in that conference the one subject matter for discussion was the matter which was the cause of the Government's defeat. We find not only the Home Secretary's name removed from supporting the deletion of this Clause, but the Government is to-night advocating what the Home Secretary was down to denounce only a week ago. Some further explanation of this situation is required than we have at present. The Solicitor-General twits my hon. Friend with taking serious notice of the sentiment of women's tears. In this case the tears are those of thousands of English women who are as much entitled to the protection and sympathy of their country as any other section of it. But, says the Solicitor-General, we must not be influenced by such sentimental reasons as that. We must ignore the women's tears and we must have regard to the safety of the country. I agree, but did not the Home Secretary have regard to the safety of the country? Did the Home Secretary, when his name was down to delete this Clause, only influenced by the tears of these women, have no regard for the safety of the country? No, Sir; it will not hold water, because those of us who know the Home Secretary and his work know perfectly well that lie had as much regard for the safety of the country a week ago as my right hon. Friend has for it at the present moment.
I approach this question as part of the peace settlement. I can conceive of nothing worse for the future of the world and the future of our own country than to keep open a wound which ought to be healed. When one takes that view we ought not to be accused of love for the Germans There is no one with love for his country who could have any love for the atrocities of which the Germans were guilty; but that should not blind us from approaching this question in a commonsense way. The Solicitor-General reminded the House that the first Alien Bill followed the Napoleonic Wars. He said that the House at that time, like the House now, had to have regard to the danger of the country. Please observe that the danger which the House of Commons had then to consider was danger from the very allies who shed their blood with us in the recent war. We cannot ignore the fact that if the wound is to be healed, if there is to be peace in the world, and if we are to avoid the horrors of another 1267 war, it will not be done by setting up barriers of this kind. It will not be done by continuing class hatred. There are many people doing it, but there are more causes doing it than people. Those who do not want to promote class hatred in this country are those of us who, when the time comes, can give evidence of their sincerity in this matter, and they are, at least, entitled to say that just as class hatred is bad so it is equally bad to breed hatred between one nation and another. Who does this Clause affect? I have knowledge of at least a dozen cases of our own members I will give one to illustrate the principle involved. An English girl in Gloucester married a German, thirty odd years ago. She went to Germany and lived in Germany five months, when her husband died. She was there stranded, with no knowledge of the German language, and with all her friends in Gloucestershire. She decided to come back immediately to her own people, but she experienced difficulty and was compelled to live in Germany until her baby was born Two months after the baby was born she returned to her parents in Gloucester. That baby comes to this country, knows nothing of Germany, grows up, joins the railway service, marries an English girl, and when the War breaks out he is interned.
That is one of many cases. These are cases that I myself brought to the notice of the Government because I believe that it was impossible to associate any German connection in a case of that kind, but the mother had neglected to take out naturalisation papers, and that was what brought him within the confines of the law. Now there is another aspect of the case. We had a large number of members who had lived in this country a Dumber of years and had married English girls. All those come under this particular Clause, because if they are less than thirty-five years in the country they cannot come within the category. I submit that while during the War there were excuses to be made for panic and bitterness and suspicion, we at least are entitled to say that these questions should be discussed now in an entirely different atmosphere. The hon. Gentleman who seconded the Motion gave abundant evidence of the hardship that may arise under this Clause. The very fact that a week ago the Government had the same conviction that we are urging now ought 1268 at least to persuade the House of Commons that if the Government's judgment was right a week ago it must be wrong this evening. For all those reasons I hope that the Government will at least realise that we are entitled to have a free and open vote and let the judgment of the House decide the policy of the Government.
§ Mr. SHORTT
I can assure my right hon. Friend, in confirming what has been said by my right hon. and learned Friend (Sir E. Pollock), that there was no bargaining with regard to this particular Clause. At the same time, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Thomas) will allow me to correct an impression that appears to be held, and to point out that the reasons why I put down an Amendment striking out this Clause were very far removed from the reasons which he gave in support of this Motion. I may inform those Members of the House who were not in the Committee what really was the dispute between us, because I opposed this Clause in the Committee as it stands in the Bill now. It was not a question of whether this or that man was to be departed, or of whether there was any necessity for deporting aliens. The whole dispute between us was as to the method to be adopted. I will quote what I said in the course of my speech in Committee:The whole question between us is one of method. There is no question of principle involved; it is a question of method and it is a question of whether the best method is to tie the hands of the Secretary of State or to leave him with a discretion.We were all agreed as to the necessity, primâ facie, of getting rid of former enemy aliens. We were equally agreed that there had to be some discretion and some exceptions, and that somebody must decide which those exceptions would be. The whole question between us was as to the best method of carrying that out. When I am twitted by my right hon. Friend with opposing to-day what I had myself proposed a week ago, it is only fair that I should be treated to-day, that I should be judged, not on the standard of the Clause as it is in the Bill, which it is sought to delete, but on the Clause as it would be if the House accepts the Amendments which I propose to put forward. I have withdrawn my Amendment deleting the Clause, but I have put down a large number of Amendments which, in my view, very materially 1269 improve and broaden the Clause as it stands. It is one thing to set up a number of cast-iron categories and to say that no person who cannot come within those categories shall stay. It is a totally different thing, when you are considering the case of a large number of aliens, to say, "We draw up a list of categories and any alien who comes within those categories primâ facie will be allowed to stay." That is the position. It makes a great difference when you accept the position that the categories are for the purpose of assisting the Advisory Committee. They are for the purpose of enabling the Advisory Commitee to say, "Here is a man who has served, or has two sons who have served, voluntarily in the Army, or has lived thirty-five years in this country and has married an English woman," and so on. The moment you arrive at that, unless there is some other good ground, the Committee are entitled to give that person no more trouble. That relieves the work of the Committee; it relieves the very large number of aliens who have passed through the sieve, and makes it very much easier for everyone. And then, even if the alien is not within those categories under this Bill, there is very wide power given for any proper reason still to exempt the alien. If the House accepts the Amendment which I shall move, it will read, with regard to the Advisory Committee:The Committee may also, whether the application for a licence is based on any ground other than one or more of those above specified—that is the categories—if satisfied that owing to the special circumstances of the case deportation would involve serious hardship on the applicant or injury to any British interest, recommend his exemption as aforesaid.Hardship to an applicant includes his wife and family.
§ Mr. SHORTT
If anyone will move those words, we will consider them. We shall not reach that to-night. Let me point out a further reason why I preferred my own method. Had it been left to the Secretary of State, I could then at once have appointed an Advisory Committee. No Secretary of State can carry out all these duties without an Advisory Committee. That would have given the power which the Clause did not. If my Amendments are 1270 accepted, the Home Secretary is entitled to have his Advisory Committee. That Committee will consist of a person of judicial training and position. I have in my mind a very highly skilled and judicially-minded man who, I hope, will take the position—[An HON. MEMBER: "Sir Ernest Wild," and cries of "Order ‡"]—who has been a very good judge in Court for something like twenty years. He does not happen to be the particular gentleman in question, although he might very well have been with his qualifications. That Advisory Committee will enable the position to be considered. Primâ facie every former enemy alien goes. We may be right or we may be wrong, but we never had a dispute as to that principle that primâ facie they went. When you come to the individual case the Advisory Committee will have certain categories. And the wider they are the better I should personally agree. If A, B, C, or D, conies within one or other of those categories, and if there is no report from the police or military which satisfies the Committee that there is some other reason against the alien, and the onus of satisfying the Commmittee will be on the police and military, then the alien is automatically exempted. If any man could come and say, "I have gone through both Committees before," there would be no question as to his position, which would be, primâ facie, for exemption. If he does not come within the categories, and the wider they are the better, he is still entitled to come under the special circumstances of his own case and the Committee can inquire into those. If he is a German and there is no hardship to anyone in going back, there is no harm in sending him back. If there is any hardship, and I say advisedly that is intended to cover the wife and family, the British-born wife and the children, then the Committee are entitled to advise the Home Secretary that the man ought to be exempted. It seems to me that that gives really everything which would have been got under the proposal that it should be done by Order in Council. We have to-day Orders in Council, and in the ordinary course they will cease to exist, and something must take their place. This is to be a continuation of those powers, and we put this provision of the Bill in place of the Regulations of the Defence of the Realm Act and the. Aliens Regulation Order. As I have said, there is no ques- 1271 tion of principle involved. It is a question of method, and I think we can get the most merciful, just, and, at the same time, most secure provision with regard to aliens under this Clause. Hardship can be avoided, injustice can be avoided, and the security of the country can be made absolute. Under those circumstances, I do ask the House to say that it is wiser that the Clause should stand. I am twitted with having changed my mind, but has nobody else ever done so? [An HON. MEMBER: "Wise men do‡"] I have explained Why I have changed my mind. and that it is as to method. An hon. Gentleman laughs as though I had been intimidated into doing so. I would say ask any of my hon. Friends if there was any intimidation about it at all. I have shown that something is an improvement, and when I am satisfied of that I have no difficulty in accepting it, no matter what is said. I think it is a better method. Certainly in its amended state the Clause is infinitely better than the Clause as it stands. I think it is even better than continuing, as I had proposed to do, the system of Orders in Council. I know the feeling with regard to Orders in Council in this House, and no one holds them more strongly than my hon. and right hon. Friends opposite. I did propose, in spite of that feeling, to continue them, but here is an opportunity to get rid of the Orders in Council and to get an equally efficient method. I therefore ask the House to support the Clause.
§ Mr. SHORTT
No. What I had moved to delete was the Clause as it stands unamended. The Clause I am supporting is the Clause as amended, which is a very different thing.
Lieut.-Colonel W. GUINNESS
The Home Secretary has left me in a complete fog as to why he has changed his mind. I have in my hand the Report of the Standing Committee on the Aliens Restriction Bill, and from that Report it is clear that he has this evening drawn an absolutely false distinction between the Clause which was originally proposed by the hon. Member for York and the Clause as it will be with his own Amendments, if they are carried. The Home Secretary this evening said he would have been prepared to look at this Clause in a very differ- 1272 ent sense if these categories at the time of the original proposal had not been brought forward in a cast-iron form, but he pointed out that these categories allowed him no discretion at all. As a matter of fact, the original proposal said that in addition to these categories,if the application for a licence is made on any ground other than one or more of those above specified, the Secretary of State either shall refuse the application or may, if he is satisfied that owing to the exceptional circumstances of the case, deportation would involve serious hardship of a personal nature on the applicant, grant him a licence under this Section.Where is the new feature in these Amendments that are proposed this evening? He had that discretion offered him by the hon. Member for York in the Standing Committee and yet he stated that he proposed this Clause because the method of the hon. Member for York to carry out these exemptions was hopelessly the wrong one; and in the Standing Committee he used almost the same words as he did to-night, that it was only a question of method. I really think the House is entitled to some explanation, if it is not a bargain with the hon. Member for York, why the Home Seceretary goes back on all that he said in Committee when he was offered all in the Committee that he is asking for to-day. I think as a matter of fact the Government have been rushed in this matter. I think they imagine that certain Members who came to them last week have much more support behind them in their extreme views about the alien question than they really have, and, personally, I would much rather be led by the Government than by the stunt Press. If I had any doubt how to vote on this Clause I should have been quite convinced by the hon. Member for York. He began by telling us that the Germans had sunk unarmed ships and their women and children. What conceivable connection has that fact with the proposal to inflict a great injustice on thousands of British-born women and children of British women by German fathers?
§ It being Eleven of the Clock, the Debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed To-morrow.