HC Deb 14 December 1927 vol 211 cc2285-7

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that Mr. John Harvey, a native of Cardiff, is serving a sentence of eight years' penal servitude in France for deserting from the Foreign Legion; and if, in view of the services rendered by Harvey in the British Army during the Great War and subsequently with the Foreign Legion in North Africa, he will make representations to the French Government with a view to this man being released?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the case of John Harvey, a British subject, now undergoing a long sentence of imprisonment for desertion from the French Foreign Legion; whether he is aware that an American named Doty, the leader of the five men who deserted, has been set at liberty by the clemency of the French Government; and whether, in view of the hardships which Harvey was called upon to endure in the campaign against the Druses in Syria, he can see his way to approach the French Government in the matter and to ask them to extend the same clemency to Harvey and give him his freedom?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the case of the Englishman, John Harvey, and of the American, Bennett Doty, who were convicted in July last year of deserting from the French Foreign Legion; whether, seeing that the American was condemned to death and has subsequently been released on representations being made by the American Government, but the Englishman, who was sentenced to eight years' penal servitude, is still in prison, he has made any representations to the French authorities; and what action he intends to take to secure that this Englishman shall be released?


I am happy to be able to say that the French Government as soon as the matter was brought to their notice have given orders for the immediate release of Mr. John Harvey. I am sure that the House will much appreciate this graceful and generous act by the French Government?


Are we to understand that the release is a free release; that he is not to go back to his regiment?


I understand that it is a free pardon.


Can the Under-Secretary say how it is that the American Government at once made representations which effected the release of the man Doty, and why our Government did not take action at once?

Captain A. EVANS

Is it not the fact that this case has not previously been brought to the attention of the British Foreign Office; and that that is the reason why they did not interfere earlier?


I think that is the reason.