HC Deb 20 August 1940 vol 364 cc1104-7
18. Mr. Graham White

asked the Secretary of State for War how it happened that some 700 refugees were transferred, on or about 4th August, from Kempton Park and Lingfield camp to a camp at Sutton Coldfield where inadequate preparations had been made for their reception?

Mr. Eden

The camp at Kempton Park has been in temporary use for internees for transit purposes, but was urgently needed for another purpose for which no other camp in the area was suitable, the only others that were both available and suitable having already been made over to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. Sutton Coldfield had been inspected and reported to be ready for the reception of internees, as a temporary canvas camp, pending the completion of other arrangements. I regret that the necessity for vacating Kempton Park without further delay rendered this transference unavoidable. The camp is not suitable for many of the internees temporarily accommodated there. In consequence, arrangements are already being made for their transfer to more suitable accommodation elsewhere.

Mr. White

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that there will be no delay in the carrying out of this transfer?

Mr. Eden

I have been into this question myself, as a result of what my hon. Friends told me. I can tell the House that the matter is already in train.

Miss Rathbone

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that there was not a bed, or even a palliasse or chair, in the place, so that the sick and elderly internees had to sleep on the bare ground; and why was the place reported ready when it was not ready in any sense?

Mr. Eden

My hon. Friend must make some allowance for the circumstances in this case. We have taken the action which I have indicated in order to prevent any recurrence, and I can assure the House that it will be attended to without delay.

Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

How many soldiers have to sleep on the bare ground?

Miss Rathbone

They are not sick men of 50.

37. Mr. Edmund Harvey

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he has received information as to the situation of the internment camps in Canada to which interned aliens in Great Britain have been transported and as to the conditions under which they will be confined; and whether in view of the anxiety which exists amongst their relatives and friends in this country, he can make a statement about the position?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Peake)

I have been asked to reply. The situation of the internment camps in Canada, some of which are of a temporary character, has been communicated to the British Government. My right hon. Friend hopes to make a further statement on this matter as soon as permanent arrangements have been completed, and a report received from the Canadian authorities.

Mr. Harvey

Is the Under-Secretary of State aware that the Canadian Government anticipated dangerous prisoners and not a mixed group, including refugees? Have arrangements been made for the separation of the refugees?

Mr. Peake

The position is that the Canadian authorities have had full instructions as to the different categories of aliens who have been transferred to Canada, and my right hon. Friend has asked for a report upon the arrangements that have been made. As soon as that report has been received, a full statement will be made.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Have His Majesty's Government proposed to the Canadian Government that the anti-Nazi refugees should be separated from the Nazis?

Mr. Peake

Yes, Sir. That has been done.

66. Mr. Harvey

asked the Home Secretary what arrangements are being made for the return to this country of internees with B and C certificates who have been deported to Canada; whether, in the meantime, the Canadian Government have been asked not to intern these men in the same internment camps as active supporters of the Nazi Government; and whether an exit permit can be granted to a qualified welfare worker to visit the internment camps in Canada on behalf of the British refugee committees?

Mr. Peake

The Canadian Government have been informed that His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom propose to review the cases of Category B and C internees who have been sent to Canada with a view to authorising their release in proper cases and making arrangements for their return to this country. The Canadian Government have also been asked to take steps to separate B and C from A internees. As regards the last part of the Question, I have no doubt that the Canadian Government will make arrangements to enable welfare workers in Canada to visit the internment camps in that country, and the grant of exit permits to enable welfare workers to travel from this country to Canada for the purpose would not appear to be necessary.

67. Mr. Hammersley

asked the Home Secretary why Carel Paul Eichwald, aged 20 years, a student of London University, who, after examination by the tribunal, was exempted from internment and kept in Class C, has since been interned, and sent to Australia without the knowledge of his parents, and without money and without means of support; who was responsible; and what steps are being taken to ensure his return from Australia?

Mr. Peake

This man was interned in pursuance of the general directions for the internment of male Germans and Austrians. He was transferred to internment in Australia for reasons of security, and will be supported there at the expense of His Majesty's Government. I understand that his mother does not desire his return to this country.

Mr. Hammersley

Is my hon. Friend aware that this man's name has been confused, and that he is in fact in Canada under the name of Reichwald, and that his real name is Eichwald; and will my hon. Friend see me afterwards about it?

Mr. Peake

I will certainly make inquiries about it.

Mr. Silverman

What are the reasons of security that compel the deportation of a Class C alien at the age of 20?

Mr. Peake

The decision to transfer internees to the Dominions was taken by the Government as a whole in the middle of June and the reasons for it have been explained in this House from time to time.

Mr. Silverman

Is the hon. Member aware of the answer that was given by the Lord Privy Seal the other day, in which it was said that the only persons taken overseas other than volunteers were those who were dangerous to this country, and is not that the interpretation to be put upon the phrase "for reasons of security" in the answer of the hon. Member? Class C refugees are not "dangerous aliens."

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