HC Deb 11 June 1940 vol 361 cc1126-7
44. Sir P. Hannon

asked the Home Secretary whether he is satisfied that rigid examination of the character and antecedents of refugees from continental countries has been conducted by the immigration officers at the ports where such people have been received; and whether supervision is being maintained over all such refugees in their disposition throughout this country?

Mr. Peake

Yes, Sir. War refugees from countries invaded by the enemy are subjected to a close examination at the ports and at the reception centres. As regards the second part of the Question, my right hon. Friend made an order on 21st May imposing on all such alien refugees restrictions on their freedom of movement and on the possession or use of certain articles such as cameras, motor-cars, etc. They are also required to complete a detailed questionnaire about themselves, and appropriate action is taken in respect of any individual about whose reliability there is any doubt.

Sir P. Hannon

Is consultation taking place from time to time with the Embassies of the countries from which these people may come, in order to satisfy the Home Office that they are all right?

Mr. Peake

Yes, Sir. There is a liaison of that kind, but we put our principal regard upon the inquiries which we ourselves undertake.

Mr. Garro Jones

Can the Hon. Gentleman assure the House that a constant track is maintained on all these refugees, and can he say that the whereabouts of all of them are now known to the police?

Mr. Peake

Most certainly. They have to register their new addresses and they are subjected to exactly the same restrictions as those to which enemy aliens are subjected.

Mr. Mathers

Is it possible for such refugees as can be vouched for to find employment in the freedom which is given to them?

Mr. Peake

They are free and they are instructed in suitable cases to register themselves for employment at Employment Exchanges.

Mr. Lipson

Has it ever been found, as a result of the inquiries into who these war refugees are, that an enemy agent has been trying to get through?

Mr. Peake

I do not think it would be in the public interest to give that information, but I can tell my hon. Friend that quite a considerable number of these refugees have been put into internment.

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