HC Deb 16 November 1939 vol 353 cc812-4
22. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that liaison officers acting between alien tribunals and refugee organisations and who have proved invaluable in expediting the treatment of the problem are without remuneration; and whether he will consider this matter at an early date with a view to their services being officially recognised and enabling these services to continue?

Sir J. Anderson

At the request of the Joint Refugee Consultative Committee, it was arranged that facilities should be given for representatives of the voluntary organisations to attend before the tribunals so as to be able to bring to notice any information in the possession of those organisations about the aliens whose cases were being reviewed. The help given by these representatives is often most valuable, and thanks are due to the voluntary organisations and their representatives for the service they are rendering. The position of these representatives is analogous to that of any friend of an alien who attends before the tribunal to say what he knows about him, and I have not felt able to propose a charge on public funds in respect of work done by voluntary organisations in supplying information about aliens whom they are befriending.

Mr. Sorensen

In view of the very great value af these liaison officers, recognised, I am sure, by the right hon. Gentleman, could he at least not promise to consider the matter sympathetically?

Sir J. Anderson

I think that will be very difficult.

Mr. Noel-Baker

In view of the very tragic position of the refugees, if the right hon. Gentleman finds in fact that these liaison officers are not able to carry on and that there is a risk of the system breaking down, will he then undertake to consider it?

Sir J. Anderson

I think I should have to then, but I hope very much that the voluntary organisations will be able to preserve their character.

30. Mr. Mander

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that aliens who have received exemption from internment are having their passports stamped on the inside with the words "Refugee from Nazi oppression," but that the words "enemy alien" remain in red letters on the outside; and whether he will make arrangements for the removal of all reference to enemy alien in such cases?

Sir J. Anderson

As I explained in reply to a question by the hon. Member on 2nd November, where a tribunal has decided that a German or Austrian may be exempted both from internment and also from the special restrictions applicable to enemy aliens steps are taken to ensure that the term "enemy alien" does not appear on his registration certificate. Where, however, a person has been exempted from internment but not from the special restrictions applicable to enemy aliens, the term "enemy alien" could not appropriately be removed from the certificate because the holder is, in fact, subject to the special restrictions applicable to enemy aliens. The words "Refugee from Nazi oppression" are endorsed in the certificate where the tribunal is satisfied that the person is a genuine refugee; but there will clearly be some cases in which the tribunal, though satisfied that a person is a genuine refugee, consider nevertheless that on security grounds he should continue to be subject to the special restrictions applicable to enemy aliens.

Mr. Mander

Does not the Home Secretary appreciate that many friendly aliens are placed in a difficult position by having inside their certificates the words "Refugee from Nazi oppression," and outside, in red letters, which everybody sees at once, the words "enemy alien"; and will not the right hon. Gentleman give special consideration to certain difficult cases which have been brought to my attention?

Sir J. Anderson

The hon. Gentleman speaks of friendly aliens. I have explained that the words "enemy alien" are retained only in the cases of those aliens whom a tribunal has regarded as properly subject to the special restrictions which are applicable to enemy aliens. I will consider any special hard cases that are brought to my notice.

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