HC Deb 16 March 1938 vol 333 cc382-4
2. Commander Locker-Lampson

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that on Saturday last, about midday, when the German Government had taken over the airport in Vienna, a British subject, Mr. E. C. Robson, who was leaving Vienna for Prague, was stopped, insulted, searched, and stripped, even of his socks; what steps His Majesty's Government intend to take to prevent similar treatment to other British subjects; and whether he will make representations to the German authorities for an apology and compensation?

Mr. Butler

I have caused inquiries to be made, but nothing is known of this case at either His Majesty's Legation or His Majesty's Consulate in Vienna. Perhaps my hon. and gallant Friend would give me any information in his possession.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Will my hon. Friend see that British subjects are not bullied by any Nazis, either at Vienna or anywhere else, without a strong protest and opportunity for compensation?

3. Mr. Arthur Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that many Austrian citizens will be unable to return to Austria as a result of its annexation by Germany, His Majesty's Government will take action to secure their protection under the auspices of the League of Nations?

Mr. Butler

The question whether refugees from Austria should be placed under the protection of the League of Nations is one for the Council of the League to decide. His Majestys' Government are giving consideration to the matter.

Mr. Henderson

Pending action by the League Council, will the Minister give an assurance to the House that there will be no repetition of what took place yesterday, when Austrian refugees were prevented from entering this country?

Mr. Butler

That is a matter for the Home Office.

Sir Percy Harris

When is the Council of the League likely to meet? Will it meet at an early date to consider these urgent questions?

Mr. Butler

I said that His Majesty's Government are giving consideration to this matter.

Sir P. Harris

Will the Council of the League be meeting soon? If so, when?

Mr. Butler

We do not anticipate a special meeting of the Council. It will be meeting at the normal time, but meanwhile, we are giving consideration to the matter.

Mr. Kirkwood

Is it the case that Austrian refugees were refused admittance to this country yesterday? Can the hon. Gentleman give us any information?

Mr. Butler

As I have said already, that is a matter for the Home Office.

Mr. Wedgwood Benn

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Home Office is an administrative Department, and that if any political reasons are involved, it is a matter for the Foreign Office?

Mr. Speaker

The Minister has answered the specific question on the Paper.

4. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether His Majesty's Government will propose that a meeting of the League Council be held to consider the annexation of Austria by Germany and the policy to be adopted in order to prevent further acts of aggression?

Mr. Butler

I would refer the hon. Member to the statements made on behalf of His Majesty's Government in the Debate in this House on 14th March, to which I have at the moment nothing to add.

Mr. Henderson

In view of the increased German and Italian aggression in Spain and the danger of German aggression against Czechoslovakia, does not the Minister consider that the League Council should be called together at once in order to concert measures to preserve international peace?

Mr. Butler

The hon. Member was asking a specific question about the Austrian case.

Mr. Henderson

Will the Minister answer the second part of the question?

Mr. Butler

With regard to the second part of the question, I do not wish to rule out any possibility in considering what action might be taken to prevent further acts of aggression.

Mr. Mander

Is it not the first time in the history of the League that there has been an international crisis and no Council has been called together, and is that because the Government are no longer interested in the League?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir.

Mr. Thorne

Can the Minister tell me who is responsible for convening the League?

Forward to