HC Deb 23 July 1940 vol 363 cc582-3
24. Sir Frank Sanderson

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the Prime Minister's appeal to all well wishers from all parts of the world who are not subjects of His Majesty to give us their utmost aid, he will, so soon as there is equipment to spare, proceed with the formation of a liberty legion, composed of true men, regardless of origin, who would volunteer to fight for the cause of Britain, and for this purpose take the preliminary steps now?

37. Mr. Wedgwood

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has yet taken the preliminary steps to form a Foreign Legion, which anti-Nazi aliens now interned might be permitted to join?

Mr. Eden

I am happy to be able to inform the House that good progress is being made in organising a number of formations of citizens of foreign countries who are fighting with us in the common cause. French, Polish, Czech, Dutch, Norwegian and Belgian units are all in process of reorganisation and re-equipment and we greatly value the aid they will give us. As regards internees, steps are now being taken in conjunction with the Home Office to decide which of the men now interned can be discharged from internment for enlistment into special companies of the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps.

Sir F. Sanderson

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the historical significance of the statement which he has just made and the tremendous satisfaction it will give to countless thousands of men?

Mr. Wedgwood

Does the last sentence of the reply mean that those friendly aliens who are now interned will be allowed to enlist in the British Army, or a Foreign Legion, or some other body?

Mr. Eden

My right hon. Friend has strictly interpreted it.

Mr. Sorensen

Does it mean that Austrian and German internees now in Canada will be able to join?

Mr. Eden

That, I do not know.

Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that you cannot trust any Boche at any time?

Mr. G. Strauss

Does the reply mean that there will be a cessation of the shipment from this country to Canada of those internees who are able to serve?

Mr. Eden

Not necessarily. This deals only with a specific class of internees as a result of steps which we are taking with the Home Office.

Mr. Logan

Does it mean that men whose parents are resident in this country, who enlisted in the British Army and have been interned, will be liberated?

Mr. Eden

I should like to see that question on the Paper?

Viscountess Astor

Is it not true that some aliens who went to Canada through a mistake must be brought back?

Mr. Eden

That is not a matter for me.

Forward to