HC Deb 18 July 1940 vol 363 cc377-9
16. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make arrangements whereby category C refugees shall be allowed a few days' notice to wind up their personal affairs before internment?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir John Anderson)

The police have standing instructions to give reasonable facilities to an alien to make any necessary arrangements before effecting his internment.

Mr. Davies

Perhaps the Minister can define what he means by "reasonable time"?

Sir J. Anderson

It will be very helpful if the hon. Gentleman can bring to my notice any case which may have been brought to his attention. I think, myself, that these cases in which what is regarded as reasonable time was not allowed are cases which, in the early stage of this process, arose in the military belt on the East Coast.

Sir Percy Harris

Is the Minister aware that even in London people of over 60 were given only two hours to pack their things and make their arrangements?

Sir J. Anderson

That certainly would not be in accordance with my wish.

Mr. G. Strauss

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is the normal procedure?

Commander Locker-Lampson

Are these people not allowed to telephone to their friends?

Sir J. Anderson

I should have thought they would certainly have been allowed to do so, but, if not, they certainly should be able to do so.

Sir H. Williams

Is the Minister aware of the case of a Kensington business man who was taken away in two hours and had no provision made in regard to the stocks in his office?

23. Miss Rathbone

asked the Home Secretary whether he will add to the present categories of aliens of enemy origin exempted or releasable from internment a further category to cover persons who have given unquestioned proof, whether in their own or in this country, of their courage in opposing Nazi or Fascist tyranny and have rendered distinguished service in this respect?

Sir J. Anderson

Any individual case where definite information of this kind were given would certainly receive my most sympathetic consideration.

Miss Rathbone

May that be made known to the refugee organisations and the police, so that they will have an opportunity of investigation before such persons are interned?

Sir J. Anderson

I will consider that.

Mr. G. Strauss

Is the Minister aware that large numbers of people have been interned who are known for years to have been fighting against Fascism?

Sir J. Anderson

That, I am afraid, is inevitable in the application of a general policy.

Mr. Wedgwood

When is it proposed to issue a statement regarding the Government's intention on this matter of internment of aliens? When are we to have the statement which was promised?

Sir J. Anderson

I hope it will be given early next week.

Mr. Benjamin Smith

Is it at any time proposed to undertake a review with a view to releasing those who turn out to be excellent friends of this country?

Sir J. Anderson

A certain review is already in progress.

40. Mr. Hill

asked the Home Secretary whether, in considering the categories of aliens who, in the absence of any suspicion on personal grounds, may be exempt or released from internment, he will interpret work of national importance as including contributions of significance to science and learning?

Sir J. Anderson

Yes, Sir. I shall be ready to give sympathetic consideration to any case where I am advised by bodies of recognised standing in the sphere of science and learning that an alien's work is of importance for the promotion of science and learning.

42. Mr. Hannah

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that friendly aliens, definitely accepted for the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps and waiting to be called up, have found themselves suddenly interned; and whether he will be able to utilise the services of those whose loyalty is not in question?

Sir J. Anderson

I am aware that a few such persons who had not been actually enlisted in the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps have been interned. These cases are being examined and arrangements will be made to release any alien whose services are required by the military authorities.

Mr. Hannah

Could we not have an entirely new policy towards aliens, based on using to the full those whose loyalty is not in dispute?

Sir J. Anderson

I have already indicated that a statement on the subject will be made early next week.

Commander Locker-Lampson

A "V.C." has been refused.

44. Mr. E. Harvey

asked the Home Secretary whether he can state how the selection of internees to be transported overseas is made?

Sir J. Anderson

I think I had better deal with this Question in the statement which is to be made next week.

Mr. Harvey

In the meantime, will the Home Secretary see that some of the mistakes that have occurred in sending innocent aliens overseas to Canada will not occur again?

Sir J. Anderson

Every precaution will be taken.