HC Deb 01 February 1940 vol 356 cc1270-1
72. Mr. Lunn

asked the Home Secretary how many enemy aliens have been removed from their homes in this country and placed under detention; under what authority this is carried out and who executes the removal; the procedure in appeals against detention, and the constitution and membership of the appeal tribunal; how many persons have appealed; and what have been the results up to date?

Sir J. Anderson

There is a prerogative power to intern the subjects of a State with which His Majesty is at war; and it is the duty of the police to arrest and take to a place of internment those enemy aliens whose internment is ordered under this power. Some 415 enemy aliens resident in this country were interned at or soon after the outbreak of war. In addition, tribunals were appointed by me to examine the cases of all Germans and Austrians in this country, and as a result of the examination by these tribunals some 554 enemy aliens have been interned.

It is open to any person so interned to make representations to me, and such representations have been received in a large number of cases. In many of these cases the information available is sufficient to make it clear either that the alien must be detained on security grounds or that, in view of fresh facts that have been ascertained, he or she can safely be exempted from internment. In a number of cases, however, it is desirable that, before a decision is reached, the alien's case shall be examined by one of the advisory committees. The constitution of these committees was announced in the Press last October, and I am sending the hon. Member a list of the members of the committees.

Up to the present date, 162 cases have been referred to the advisory committees, and 45 persons have been released after consideration of the reports of these committees.

Mr. Garro Jones

In order to put those figures into proper perspective would the Minister be good enough to state the number of enemy aliens who are at large?

Sir J. Anderson

The number, I should say, speaking off-hand, is something like 60,000.

Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte

Are we not being too lenient with enemy aliens and ought we not to have interned a great many more?