HC Deb 24 April 1941 vol 371 c245
17. Miss Eleanor Rathbone

asked the Home Secretary whether representations have been made, and with what result, to the Australian Commonwealth authorities concerning the desirability of revoking the rule which forbids alien internees in Australia from sending cables, and the more recent rule which limits their letters to 24 lines, as the prohibition of cables is a hardship to internees desiring rapid communication with their families concerning release applications, business affairs, emigration plans or serious sickness; and will he endeavour to secure permission for cables at least in such cases?

Mr. H. Morrison

The Australian authorities have under consideration a modification, so far as internees sent from this country are concerned, of the regulation which prohibits internees in Australia from sending cables overseas. The rule as to the number and length of letters is similar to that applying to internees in this country but camp commandants in Australia, like commandants in this country, have discretion to relax these limitations in special circumstances. There is no restriction on internees letters relating to release and associated matters sent through official channels.

Miss Rathbone

Can my right hon. Friend use his good offices with the Australian Government to expedite their discussions on the question of cables? It is a cruel hardship for these men, who have been torn from their families at a moment's notice because they cannot get a reply to a letter in less than four months and sometimes six months.

Mr. Morrison

I have said that the Australian authorities have the matter under consideration, but I will keep the hon. Lady's point in mind.