HC Deb 12 November 1928 vol 222 cc496-7
65. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will state when His Majesty's Consul-General in Portuguese West Africa first informed the Foreign Office of the arrest of Mr. A. J. Brewer, second officer of the Clan Line s.s. "Clan Lamont," on 17th December last; whether the Consul-General made any representations to the Portuguese Government at the time; whether any assistance was given to Mr. Brewer in prison and during his trial; whether the owners of the vessel communicated with His Majesty's Government; what steps they took to see that their servant was provided with legal and other assistance; whether any protest was made by His Majesty's Government against the long-continued imprisonment of this gentleman before he was brought to trial; if so, what was the nature of the protest.; what reply, if any, was received; and what steps His Majesty's Government is now taking in the matter?


His Majesty's Consul-General at Loanda was at Lobito at the time of Mr. Brewer's arrest, and reported to His Majesty's Government at once. He took immediate steps to secure, so far as possible, Mr. Brewer's comfort during his period of detention, and arranged with the local authorities for him to be allowed to live in the hospital, where he enjoyed considerable freedom and privileges. On His Majesty's Consul-General's return to Loanda he spoke to the Procurator-General about expediting the trial, but the latter was unable to take any effective steps. When the trial came on the Consul-General went to Benguela and assisted in the preparation of the defence and was present during the trial. The owners of the "Clan Lamont" have been in continual communication with His Majesty's Government, and made all arrangements for Mr. Brewer's legal defence. As regards the steps they are now taking, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given on the 7th instant to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton).

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his reply, may I take it that we are continuing our representations to secure reparation for this gentleman?


Oh, certainly; we shall do our utmost.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any reply was received by the Portuguese Government to the telegraphic inquiries which they sent to their Consul last week?


We know that the Portuguese Government have made inquiries, but I do not know whether they have had any reply.


Has the right hon. Gentleman forgotten the promise which he made to me a few months ago, and has he taken any action about the case in which the Portuguese Government in an arbitrary and unjust way deported a Hindu religious missionary from their territories in India?