HC Deb 30 May 1940 vol 361 cc649-52
33. Colonel Burton

asked the Home Secretary whether any arms and/or ammunition have been found upon the person or premises or under the control of any aliens in this country?

Sir J. Anderson

While I could not, without prolonged inquiry, say whether in recent years cases have occurred in which aliens were found to be in unlawful possession of firearms or ammunition, I have no information to suggest that failure to comply with the law relating to the possession of firearms is prevalent among aliens.

34. Vice-Admiral Taylor

asked the Home Secretary whether he will have all aliens in category B interned forthwith?

Sir J. Anderson

As has been announced in the Press, I have ordered the internment of all category B Germans and Austrians, male and female, between the ages of 16 and 60, with the exception of the infirm and invalid, and the internment of these persons has already been carried out.

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Is the Minister aware that the age limit of 60 does not automatically prohibit anybody above that age from doing harm to this country if he wishes to do so? Would it not be very much better to have the age limit raised to make sure that those people over 60 cannot do any harm?

Sir J. Anderson

I have already said that action taken so far does not represent finality.

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Is the Minister aware that those under 60—

Mr. Speaker


Vice-Admiral Taylor

This is a very important subject, and, therefore, may I not ask my right hon. Friend another Supplementary Question?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. and gallant Member does not emphasise it more by repetition.

37. Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the Home Secretary whether he will consider reviewing the number of foreign waiters employed in restaurants and road houses in the vicinity of important aerodromes and aircraft factories and take action in the matter?

Sir J. Anderson

I know of no reason to discriminate between foreign waiters and aliens engaged in other occupations, but I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that I shall not hesitate to take appropriate action in the case of any alien whose activities give rise to suspicion.

Mr. Thurtle

Will the Minister, in the interest of public safety, have an inquiry made into the Savoy Hotel, which is staffed with anti-British Italians, seeing that highly placed officers frequently dine there?

Sir J. Anderson

All these matters are constantly under review.

39. Colonel Burton

asked the Home Secretary whether he can state the number of enemy aliens in this country, as to males and females, and the number of each which have been interned?

69. Captain Shaw

asked the Home Secretary how many male and female enemy aliens between the ages of 16 and 60 are still uninterned in this country?

Sir J. Anderson

The numbers of persons of German or Austrian nationality in this country are approximately 31,000 males and 42,000 females, of whom about 5,600 and 3,200 respectively are interned.

59. Mr. Cocks

asked the Home Secretary whether he has now come to a decision on the question of interning all enemy aliens, irrespective of sex, including those over 60 years of age?

Sir J. Anderson

It would not be in the public interest to announce any decision which may be taken on this subject before it is put into effect.

Mr. Cocks

Is not the Minister's opinion that a man over 60 might be a danger to England, seeing what a great danger to Germany is the Prime Minister, who is 65?

62. Sir Ernest Graham-Little

asked the Home Secretary the composition of the Home Office Advisory Medical Committee dealing with the admission to Great Britain of foreign medical practitioners; the secretary of this committee; the total number of foreign medical practitioners entering this country since the German invasion of Austria in March, 1938, who have been placed on the medical register and allowed to remain in this country without such registration, respectively; how many of these are of German, Austrian or Czecho-Slovakian nationality, respectively; and whether any precautions were adopted, or are now in operation, to prevent enemy agents from being included in these admissions and allowed to remain at liberty?

Sir J. Anderson

As the answer is necessarily detailed, I will with permission arrange for it to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

After the invasion of Austria and Czecho-Slovakia my predecessor, after consultation with the medical profession, decided that 50 Austrian and 50 Czech refugee doctors might be allowed, provided they obtained a British medical qualification, to practise in this country. Of these 100 persons only four, all of whom are Austrians, have as yet obtained a British medical qualification. The bona fides of all the doctors so admitted to this country was carefully tested before they were allowed to come here, and since the outbreak of war each case has been examined by one of the tribunals appointed for the purpose.

The committee which advised the Home Office in the selection of these doctors consisted of the following persons—

77. Sir G. Fox

asked the Home Secretary whether he has satisfied himself that the large number of alien students and others in the different universities should not in extreme cases come within the scope of the internment regulations; and whether all the chief constables concerned are satisfied with the position in their respective districts?

Sir J. Anderson

In the measures taken for the internment of certain classes of persons of enemy alien nationality, no differentiation has been made in favour of students or persons working in universities. If my hon. Friend has in mind the internment of individuals as distinct from the internment of classes of persons, all chief constables are aware that in any case where the character or conduct of an individual gives ground for suspicion, appropriate action can be taken.

Sir G. Fox

Have chief constables been informed that any students or others of whose loyalty to the country they have any doubt, whoever they may be, are to be interned immediately?

Sir J. Anderson

They have been informed that they should send particulars of any individual cases to the appropriate quarter and immediate consideration will be given to the question of internment.

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Will any alien professors over 60 be dealt with?