HC Deb 23 November 1939 vol 353 c1397
70. Miss Cazalet

asked the Home Secretary what steps he is prepared to take to enable British-born women married to subjects of a State at war with His Majesty to regain their British nationality?

Sir J. Anderson

I fully recognise the importance of this matter to many women whose loyalty to their country of birth is strong. Whereas in the last war naturalisation was granted only to women separated from their husbands, I do not propose to adopt the same restriction now, but will limit my discretion only to the extent that is necessary to avoid impairing measures of control which must be maintained in time of war over persons of enemy nationality. If a British-born woman is living with a German or Austrian husband whom it is necessary on security grounds to subject to the special restrictions applicable to enemy aliens it would not as a rule be right to naturalise the wife and therefore to relax the restrictions which are applicable to such a household; but many of the Germans and Austrians now here are in sympathy with this country in the struggle in which we are engaged, and arrangements have been made to exempt such persons from the special restrictions applicable to enemy aliens. In such cases no security measures would be impaired by naturalising a British-born wife. I have accordingly decided that any such woman may, as soon as her husband has been exempted from the special restrictions, apply for naturalisation and that arrangements shall be made to deal with such applications expeditiously.

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