HC Deb 18 March 1940 vol 358 c1642
59. Mr. G. Strauss

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that many of the interned German merchant seamen who were taken from neutral or British ships are refugees from Germany and strongly anti-Nazi, he will take steps to separate them from those merchant seamen who were captured from German ships and are under the domination of their Nazi leaders?

Sir V. Warrender

I am not aware that many interned merchant seamen are refugees or strongly anti-Nazi. There are, however, a number of trade-unionist seamen of independent views. These men are, I am informed, well able to look after themselves and need no protection. There are difficulties in dividing interned merchant seamen into separate classes, and on present information I do not think there are sufficient grounds for separation.

Mr. Strauss

Will the hon. Gentleman look into the matter again; and is he aware that there is a considerable number of seamen interned who are strongly anti-Nazi, even though they dare not say so, and that they are getting a very difficult time through being locked up with these other German seamen?

Sir V. Warrender

The Question refers to merchant seamen, and I have given the information I have with regard to them. If the hon. Gentleman has any further information he can give me, I shall be very glad to have it.