§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This Bill is in form a Bill to amend three Acts, and thereby remove certain disabilities and discriminations. In substance, the Bill is a Bill to approve, and to give effect to, the Commercial Treaty, the terms of which are set out in the White Paper which has been circulated to the House. Negotiations for the Treaty were begun by the late Government, and carried on by my right hon. Friend the Member for Seaham (Mr, S. Webb), and it fell to us to take up the negotiations where he had laid them down. When I came into these negotiations I found he had already called into his assistance the Advisory Council, of the Board of Trade which is fully representative of industry and commerce, including members on the Labour side and also special advisers representing 2360 industrial, commercial, banking, insurance, and shipping interests.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
The Chamber of Shipping and the Seamen's Union. The hon. and gallant Gentleman will find that there is a resolution supporting this Bill, passed by the Seafarers' Joint Council, which represents the nine great unions concerned. There has been among all those who advised us, I think, a general consensus of opinion as to the need for such a Treaty, and as to the provisions which ought to be found, if it were possible to arrange them, in such a Treaty, and a general consensus of opinion in support of the provisions which were ultimately inserted in that Treaty. I do not think that we have inserted anything in the Treaty which the right hon. Gentleman was not anxious to see there, and I am bound to say I think the Treaty, whichever Government had been in office, would have taken, I hope, exactly the same form. The need for a Treaty was very urgent, because, as the House, I think, is aware, the corresponding Articles of the Treaty of Versailles expired in January of this year. There- 2361 fore, in considering the Bill which is now before the House, we have to consider, inevitably, the provisions which are found in this Treaty, because the whole must stand or fall together.
The greatest need of all in a Treaty of this kind is to get the Most-Favoured-Nation Treaty, but it contains, it in as complete form as possible. This Treaty secures the Most-Favoured-Nation provisions to us, and it contains a special and a more detailed application of those provisions than, I think, we have ever succeeded in getting in any commercial Treaty before. If hon. Members will look at the White Paper, they will see that the main body of the Treaty is substantially the common form, brought up-to-date, of such treaties, but, in the Protocol, there is an extended and wider application of those provisions. Articles 1 and 2 of the Protocol provide that the Most-Favoured-Nation treatment, whether with regard to Customs or anything else found in the Treaty, shall be applied in the most liberal manner possible, not only in the letter, but also in the spirit. There is a special provision, that if there is any question of a breach, it shall be taken up immediately by verbal negotiations, and in case of a dispute, it would ultimately go to arbitration, under Article 30 of the Treaty.
In Article 5 of the Protocol, there are special provisions inserted for British insurance companies doing business in Germany, and for British banks doing business in Germany. What is tremendously important, in Article 6 there is the fullest possible facility for conducting emigration, the absolute right to British companies to establish their agencies in Germany for dealing with emigrant and transmigrant traffic, exactly as if they were German companies, with the same full and complete rights, not only to secure that traffic, but to deal with it in every way by railways or shipping. Then, in Article 3 of the Protocol, there is a provision that, not later than six months from the coming into force of the Treaty, all forms of prohibition on both sides shall be removed except in special cases. Members on both sides of the House, I know, from time to time have had complaints that, where you have a great number of prohibitions, difficulty inevitably arises in getting licences. The only way of dealing effectively 2362 with that is to get, as far as you can, the removal of the prohibition,' and Article 3 of the Protocol contains a provision that all prohibitions are to go, except those of which actual notice is given. By Article 7 of the Protocol, the German Government undertake to ratify and carry out a number of conventions to which the commercial community and the shipping community attach great importance—conventions, which have been entered into under the auspices of the League of Nations, for the freedom of transit, for the simplification of Customs formalities, for provision, both in shipping and railway transit, against discrimination, or its consequences, and for enforcing in the Courts arbitration clauses, where those clauses are found in commercial agreements.
The House, therefore, will see that the Treaty is not only, what we did not have with Germany before the War, a Most-Favoured Nation Treaty, but it contains, as I have shown, an amplification of the Most-Favoured-Nation principle in a detailed particularity which has never been found in a Treaty before. It must be obvious that, if you are to have a Most-Favoured-Nation Treaty with any country, you must accord the Most-Favoured-Treatment to that country. It is impossible to secure these advantages and to maintain any discrimination. Therefore, there is the provision that the discriminations which exist to-day shall be removed. The three discriminations which we seek to remove in consequence of the Treaty are the three which are set out in the First Schedule to the Bill before the House. The first is a provision relating to non-ferrous metals, that, for a period of five years, an ex-enemy alien shall not engage in the non-ferrous metal business; but, as a matter of fact, if it had not been for what I may call the artificial continuation of the War, the delay in the ratification of peace, which technically prolonged the period of war long after it was actually finished, that period would already have expired, and does, in any case, expire next year. The second discrimination is a provision with regard to banks, prohibiting ex-enemy aliens from engaging in banking for a period of five years, or such period as Parliament might determine. That period would not lapse automatically, and, 2363 therefore, would require Parliamentary action to determine the period. I do not think I need say anything about that.
The third discrimination, to which most attention has been directed, is Section 12 of the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act. which provides that no former enemy alien shall be employed or act as master, officer or member of the crew of a British ship registered in the United Kingdom. The history of that Section is well remembered by everyone in the House, and I think I shall be expressing the sentiments of the seamen themselves when I say—and it was so expressed to me by some of their representatives—that what they had in their minds was that this was not necessarily a permanency, but that it was intended, and desired by them, to be for a period to mark the action taken by Germany as against our mercantile marine and its members in the War. I say that because I think there are very few who would contend that, apart from considerations of our own interests, when chat Section was put in it was intended that it should last for ever. What I should like the House to understand, what I should like to make clear, is that it is only that Section of the Aliens Act which we are seeking to repeal under this Treaty, and by this Bill. All that is done is to remove the discrimination against ex-enemy aliens, and not to give any right to any alien from which he is otherwise debarred under the Aliens Act. It is enormously important to realise that, because there was a suggestion at one time that if this section were repealed aliens generally would find their way on to British ships in a way they cannot do at present. Nothing is further from the truth. What the seamen have always regarded in respect to aliens as their charter is Section 5. Section 5 is the section which provides in the first place under Sub-section (1) thatNo alien shall act as master, chief officer, or chief engineer of a British merchant ship …,and so on, with one very limited exception, that the Admiralty are able to make an exception in favour of the alien who rendered good service in the Mercantile Marine during the War. Section 5, Subsection (2)—what I have called the Charter—is this:No alien shall be employed in any capacity on board a British ship registered 2364 in the United Kingdom at a rate of pay less than the standard rate of pay for the time being current on British ships for his rating.It is that Section which the seamen regard, and rightly regard, as their charter in this matter. That Section remains in its entirety, and is not touched by the Bill which is now before the House. Moreover, we reserve absolute discretion to enforce, either by legislation or by administration, any Regulation or provision which the House considers necessary in the national interest towards aliens, providing only that we do treat all aliens alike. As a matter of fact, we to-day are enforcing very stringent Regulations. It is a general rule that no alien is permitted to come to this country to take up work which a British workman can be found to do. Under the law, as under administration, as it stands to-day, alien seamen engaged abroad, are not allowed to land at a British port. Every step that the Home Office and my Department can take is being taken and will be taken to enforce that provision. Therefore, no privilege of any sort is given to aliens as such as against British seamen. I go further, and I say to the House, after going into this matter with shipowners and seamen, that so far from the provisions of this Treaty militating in any way against the employment of British seamen, they are directed in their favour. I will illustrate to the House what I mean. One of the things which the shipping community were most anxious to get into the Treaty was a provision to deal with the emigrant traffic. As I have shown to the House, under Article 6 of the Protocol we get that national treatment for all our shipping companies which is accorded by Germany to her own people.
But what has happened in practice? It has happened in practice that if a liner has to carry a large number of German emigrants speaking no language but German, it is absolutely necessary to have a certain number of people on board who are able to talk to the emigrants in their own language. The only result, as a matter of fact, I am told—and it is common knowledge amongst shipowners and seamen in the shipping world—was that while these provisions were in force 2365 the companies went to great pains to secure somebody who could fill these posts, and who was able to speak German, and he was either a Roumanian or a Czech, but not a Briton. Where these came from I do not know! Therefore, so far from this provision militating against our seamen, it is absolutely necessary in order to enable the ships to keep at sea, and so deal with emigrant traffic—ships which would otherwise be laid up. You will then have taken on board the ships a few Germans, a few stewards, and I believe I am right in saying that already the union concerned has been in consultation with the shipowners as to the number which may be taken on board ship. The net result is, or will be, that you will have British ships kept at sea, manned by British seamen who otherwise would be out of a job, carrying on the trade which this Treaty brings to us.
One of the interesting things is that so far from there being any tendency to employ a larger number of aliens in the British mercantile fleet there are being employed fewer and fewer than before the War. I have been looking at the last detailed figures available. I find that at the last census of seamen in 1921—the masters, mates and engineers employed in the British mercantile marine numbered 27,000. I am including in this not merely the British ships sailing from British ports, but British ships working abroad, for—as hon. Members know—a number of ships on the British Register do not come into British ports. Of the number I have given 276 were foreigners. That is 1 per cent. In the four years that followed, out of an annual average of 3,600 certificates given, only 14. I think, were given to foreigners. That shows that in the officer class how little tendency there has been to encourage foreigners. When we come to the seamen themselves, and take the engagement of European seamen, you find that before the War, in 1913, there was a percentage of 7. 81 foreigners; in 1914, 8. 20 were foreigners; in 1921, 3. 05; in 1922, 2. 91; and in 1924, 2. 83. That shows that there is certainly no tendency on the part of British shipowners to engage foreigners when they can get their own men. Of course, Section 5 is the charter, and that Section stands, and it says that if the foreigner is engaged the foreigner has in every case to be paid the rate of 2366 wage which would be offered to the British seaman.
While I have been making this point I have seen it stated that even a single alien in a British ship is a very dangerous thing for the country in a national emergency. I wonder if the House realises that inevitably in war you have more aliens on your ships than at any other time. That happens, and must happen, because when the Navy mobilises it is then that you call more upon the men of your mercantile marine, so that it actually happens that in war you have a larger number of aliens on your ships than you had in time of peace. The people I think who realise this best are the seamen themselves. In accordance with my promise to the hon. and gallant Gentleman I would refer to a Resolution which was passed and sent to me officially after I had met representatives of the nine unions represented on the Seafarers' Joint Council. They passed this Resolution:That this Seafarers' Joint Council, after hearing the report of the deputation and particularly the statement of the President of the Board of Trade that the Treaty is urgently necessary to bring the overseas trade of this country back to normal, get the ships which are now laid up under weigh and considerably reduce unemployment, are of opinion no useful purpose will be served in the interests of the men of the sea by opposing the Government in their efforts to negotiate the Treaty.I think they were profoundly right—if I may say so—in passing a Resolution of that kind. It is certainly in the interests of trade generally. Of that I feel there is no doubt: but it is, I believe, in the interests of shipping and the seamen themselves.
I would only add one or two other observations about the Treaty. It provides, in Article 31, that any Dominion or Colony may adhere to the Treaty, and it also provides that pending the formal adherence to the Treaty the Dominion or Colony extending the most-favoured nation treatment to Germany shall have that treatment extended to them in return, although the formal adherence has not been made. The House will also observe from the Minutes and the signatures appended to the Treaty that it has been signed entirely without reserve.
The Bill of which I am moving the Second Reading now provides that it 2367 should come into force on a date certified by the Secretary of State as being the date of the exchange of ratification. The Treaty I think, and I think in the view of manufacturers, merchants and indeed of all those who have considered its terms, and who are interested in trade, is of real value. I think it is not only of value in itself, it is of great value as a precedent which may be followed in other cases in the future, in Europe and in the world. That is a consideration of value. It has been widely welcomed by the industrial and commercial community on both these grounds. On both these grounds I commend it to the House. In doing so I should be ungracious if I did not express my gratitude to those who preceded me in these negotiations for the ground they have covered and the work they have put in in the earlier stages of negotiations, and I flunk hon. Gentlemen will agree with me in saying how very much both of us throughout the negotiations are indebted to Lord D'Abernon.
§ Sir HENRY SLESSER
As the President of the Board of Trade has said, we on these benches, and I would include my right hon. Friend the Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb), have part responsibility for the negotiations which resulted in this Treaty, and I have only risen this evening in order to assure my hon. Friends behind me, if there be any doubt amongst them, that this Bill really does adequately safeguard all those standard rates of wages which already exist in the case of aliens other than ex-enemy aliens. If one is not trained to this sort of thing, there is great difficulty, I agree, in dealing with the exact effect of this legislation, but I wish to emphasise the fact, and I am sure my right hon. Friend the Member for Seaham wishes me to do so, that in these negotiations regard has always been had to the maintenance and the guarantee of the standard rates which are laid down under existing legislation. Without going into any technicalities of law, it is common knowledge that under Section 5 of the Aliens Restriction Act, aliens are not to be employed in any capacity on board a British ship at less than the standard rate of wage, and then there is a proviso that where the Board of Trade are satisfied that aliens of any particular race are habitually employed afloat in any capacity 2368 or in any climate for which they are specially fitted, nothing in that Section is to prejudice the right of those aliens to be employed on British ships at rates of pay which are not below those for the time being fixed as standard rates for British subjects of that race.
Under that Section as it exists at present, former enemy aliens are excluded, but they are now to be brought under the provisions of that Section and. therefore, the position with regard to their rates of pay will be exactly the ' same as that of all other aliens employed on British ships. The restrictions as to the employment of aliens as masters will be just the same in their case as in the case of other aliens. All this does, therefore, is to exclude that part of the Act which was, probably, very necessary at the time, which says that ex-enemy aliens shall not be employed on British ships.
I may just point out, in conclusion, that it is a definite, provision, set out in the first Schedule of the Protocol, that His Britannic Majesty undertakes to recommend Parliament to legislate for the removal of these disabilities, and one of them is this particular one. All this does is to place the ex-enemy alien, when employed on a British ship, in exactly the same position as every other alien employed on a British ship. All the restrictions which apply to them apply to him, all the standard rates apply to him as to them. We were mindful of this when the negotiations were proceeding, and as we see that that provision is contained in the present Bill, we hope it will be. accorded a Second Reading without much further discussion.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
I beg to move to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the wordsthis House refuses a Second Reading to a Bill that will increase unemployment amongst British seamen, and still further weaken the available reserves of trained seamen for the Royal Navy.I would mention at the beginning that I have seen very great changes in regard to this particular subject in the few years I have been in this House. When the Treaty of Versailles was introduced, I sat above the Gangway and opposed its passage through this House, to the best of my ability, on the grounds that it was unduly strict towards the defeated enemy. The right hon. Gentleman the President 2369 of the Board of Trade, who then was a distinguished Member of the back benches, sat on the other side, and was one of those who supported the' Bill. To-day, in a speech on which I hope he will allow mo to felicitate him—especially as it was not a matter where party lines were very clearly drawn, and perhaps for that reason I am able particularly to felicitate him—he supported a Bill to sweep away part of the strictures imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. I, still a back bencher, and he, a distinguished member of the Cabinet, are again opposed across the table.
I feel bound to resist this Bill because in a certain particular it is against the interests of a great body of constituents who support me at elections, and whom I do not propose to desert now that I am safely back in the House of Commons. Before I come to this particular point, may I say, briefly, with regard to the rest of the Bill, that I must, of course, welcome it. I do not know if my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, or the Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade is going to reply, but if they are I would like to know whether, when these negotiations leading up to the Bill took place, the question of commercial air traffic was discussed. I have the provisions of the Bill here, and they do not particularly mention it with regard to transit, as far as I can understand them. As the House knows, we are considerably hampered in developing our air services with Central Europe by German restrictions on our machines flying over their territory, and this very important matter should have been considered when the Bill was under discussion in Berlin. As to the rest of the Bill, I would like to echo every word of the President of the Board of Trade as to its advantages to our mercantile community and our exporters to Germany.
I come, however, to what makes the Bill objectionable in my eyes, and in the eyes of a great many men in this country who follow the calling of the sea. The right hon. Gentleman quoted the resolutions sent to him by the Joint Seafarers' Council. I find myself in a difficulty here, because the pilots are represented on the Joint Seafarers' Council. I have the honour to be president of the Pilots' Association, and, therefore, I wish to 2370 say that I am not speaking in that capacity at all. I realise that the pilots go with a majority of the Seafarers' Council in this matter. But there are other seafaring bodies, and I wish to seek support, first, from the Mercantile Marine Service Association, which is a very old body and has among its members the present Secretary of State for the Colonies, the present First Lord of the Admiralty, the present Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, who I am glad to see on that bench, and my Noble Friend the Member for South Battersea (Viscount Curzon), a Lord of the Treasury, and I am also glad to find my own name in such distinguished company. There is also another Noble Lord who is a member of the Government, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions. Therefore, we have strong Government support on this body.
§ Mr. SAMUEL SAMUEL
Those hon. Members are members of this association for charitable purposes, not for political purposes, I believe. If you read the book you will find that these members are simply honorary members, to distribute the funds to which they have contributed for charitable purposes.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I do not want to make too great a point of that. I am an honorary member. I did not know the hon. Member was also, but I see he is associated with that body, and I am very glad to hear it. I quoted those names, not as showing that those gentlemen naturally supported the views of the secretary whose letter I am going to quote to the House, but as showing that it is not a body to be altogether neglected. This is what the secretary wrote to me on the 16th March last:Amongst other provisions the Bill permits the re-entry of German seamen to serve on ships registered in the United Kingdom. As the senior representative organisation of British masters and officers, I am desired by my Council respectfully to invite your opposition to the Measure.Figures are quoted, but they do not quite agree with those of the right hon. Gentleman. In 1914, he says, there were 30,960 foreigners approximately, exclusive of lascars, serving in the British mercantile marine, and of these 5,000 at least were Germans and 950 of Austrian nationality. There were 113 German masters, 49 German mates, 182 German 2371 boatswains, 60 German engineers, etc. The Mercantile Marine Service Association views the passage of this portion of the Bill with apprehension.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
May I make it clear to the hon. and gallant Gentleman that this Treaty stands or falls together? If he opposes any part of it, he opposes the whole of it. Let that be perfectly clear.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I am naturally well aware of that, but I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for attempting to remind me of it. I am now going to quote the opinion of a sister association, the Marine Service Guild. I am quoting now from the "Morning Post" of 4th December, in which its secretary, Lieutenant Moore, pointed out that at Liverpool there would be a rush of Germans to join British ships. He said the free entry of aliens to the service would be fatal to the hopes of young British seamen, and that owing to the depression in shipping there were hundreds of young men unable to find berths. He said, also, that the effect of the alien invasion on the morale of the mercantile marine would be disastrous, and that the guild was strongly opposed to such a concession. I admit there has been a great deal of misapprehension about this Bill, but surely the secretary of the Marine Service Guild cannot be accused of not knowing the facts of the case. Laymen may easily fall into the error of thinking this Bill would open British shipping to an influx of foreigners of all sorts, whereas, as we know perfectly well, it only removes the ban from Germans, Austrians, etc. There is another body, representing the men, the Amalgamated Marine Workers' Union, and their London secretary has written me a letter of which I will read only a few words. He says:It is difficult for the Amalgamated Marine Workers' Union, associated as it is with the international seamen's movement, to oppose the proposal, particularly as no restriction exists on the employment of other alien seamen, but in the face of the phenomenal unemployment amongst British seamen there is no alternative.Figures are then quoted, but, as later figures were given me by the right hon. Gentleman, I will not read them. Then these words are used, and this answers, 2372 I think, the argument put forward by the right hon. Gentleman when he reminded us of what he called the "Seamen's Charter" in the Bill, by which aliens cannot be employed in British ships at less wages than the current rates for all seamen in those British ships. The writer says:The disparity in wages will induce German seamen to flock to British ships, attracted by the higher wages, and although wages must conform to the British standard where German seamen are employed on British ships, the additional labour available must inevitably lead to a reduction in wages.8.0 p.m.
It is recognised by all who have the interests of the mercantile marine of this country at heart that our seamen do not, in all cases, receive the training and the apprenticeship they should have. On the other hand, the Germans, and it is to the credit of successive German Governments, do receive a much better training, and therefore in many cases the Germans start with a certain advantage over our men. That is not the fault of our men, but it is a matter to be deplored, and I hope it is one of the questions the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give us some satisfaction upon when his Estimates come up for discussion. Yesterday I asked the right hon. Gentleman to give us the figures of unemployment in the British Mercantile Marine, and I was very sorry to hear him read out that on the 2nd March, 1925, no fewer than 17,841 seamen, firemen, cooks, stewards and other workers on board ship were registered as unemployed. That is a terrible figure, and it does not include a great many officers, and I believe I am also right in saying that it does not include the unemployed lascars and others of British nationality. I think I am right in saying that that figure refers to only European white seamen, and we have nearly 18,000 unemployed. What would be said on both sides of this House if our ports were opened up to an influx of German miners, railwaymen, transport workers to work in our factories and mines and to engage in transport work in this country? What would be said by hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway and hon. Gentlemen opposite? There would be an immediate outcry, and I do not see why the seamen should be left to fend for themselves in this matter. Of course, I know that we cannot keep on this particular differentia- 2373 tion against ex-enemy seamen indefinitely, but the mercantile marine is suffering from acute unemployment and the time is not appropriate for removing this particular ban. The officials of the seamen's organisation point out that at the present moment there are dozens and scores of men waiting for every vacancy that occurs, and you may have men of fine physique and training who happen to be Germans obtaining these jobs whereas our men, not being so well trained and of inferior physique, will have to go to the wall. In these circumstances I could not possibly allow this Bill to pass without making a protest in the only way that is open to me.
I want to say a word or two upon the question of Reserves for the Royal Navy. May I point out that the Navy must look forward to the Mercantile Marine for its Reserves, and every extra foreigner employed on our British ships means one less potential seaman or fireman who can be called upon in time of war to assist the Royal Navy. That is a matter which cannot be overlooked. I do not, however, base myself primarily on that argument, but I do say that with the extraordinary amount of unemployment in the Mercantile Marine which has existed for the last three years it is not fair to our seamen to open up a fresh class of competitors for the very few berths that remain for them.
§ Major Sir ARCHIBALD SINCLAIR
I beg to second the Amendment.
The President of the Board of Trade has stated that it was impossible to support this Amendment unless you are against the Treaty as a whole, but that is not our view. As a matter of fact we are strongly in favour of this Treaty as a whole, and I congratulate the President of the Board of Trade and his predecessor on the work they have done in concluding this Treaty because it will be of great benefit to the trade of this country and, eventually, to the seamen themselves.
At the same time we feel bound to make our protest against subjecting the seamen of this country to this added competition now without giving them any compensation for being deprived of the protection they now enjoy under the Regulations to which the President has referred, and which will be rescinded by this Bill. At the present time they do 2374 enjoy a certain measure of protection against competition by ex-enemy aliens, but if that protection is to be removed in our view they ought to receive some compensation, and for these reasons I shall support the Amendment.
§ Mr. MARCH
I should be wanting in my duty if I did not raise my protest against this Bill. Like the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull, I represent a constituency which contains a large number of seamen who have been unemployed for two or three years and who have no prospect of getting employment even now. If this restriction is going to bo taken off then their chance of employment is going to be made a great deal worse. I have had representations made to me from officials of the marine workers' organisation which represents cooks, stewards and various other classes. They point out that they are very much concerned about a number of elderly men who did good service during the War—I know two of them who were submerged at least three times—and they are not exactly physically fit for ordinary seamen's work, but they are quite suitable, for carrying on their work as cooks and stewards, and now they will be told that they are not likely to get employment in an insurable trade, and consequently they are exempt from unemployment pay.
Having no other source of income, like many other elderly seamen, their only course is to go to the board of guardians, and there we shall have to keep these people who are willing to work. They will have to present themselves at the Board of Trade offices, get a card stamped, and state that they have been to the Board of Trade to seek employment and have been refused employment because younger men have been taken on. These men claim that, owing to the present abnormal condition of affairs, this is not an opportune time to bring in a Measure of this description without some kind of restriction. They seem to think that there can be some limitation made in connection with this matter.
Having heard the President of the Board of Trade explain that the Aliens Restriction Act will be enforced by the Minister of Labour in the same way as now, I agree that these men cannot come in specially to take the work of our seamen, but they must come over in some 2375 ship or other to be repatriated. If that is done I admit that a great deal of the feeling against these foreigners will be relieved very considerably. I hope that the Board of Trade and all concerned do really understand that these men feel that what is now proposed is going to handicap them more than ever in the future. If these proposals are going to be carried out by the Minister of Labour, and the Home Office carry out their work in regard to restrictions, I think these men will be relieved very considerably.