HC Deb 20 February 1941 vol 369 c296
75. Mr. Edmund Harvey

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has received information as to the hardship caused to internees sent to Australia on the s.s. "Dunera" through their having had their money taken from them before their arrival in Australia; and whether, pending the inquiry which has been promised, any arrangement has been made to provide these internees with a minimum allowance of pocket money?

Mr. Law

I am aware of the representations that have been made on this subject, and, as my right hon. Friend has already promised, ever endeavour will be made to ascertain the facts. As regards the remittance of money to internees in Australia, I would refer by hon. Friend to the answer given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) on Tuesday last, of which I am sending him a copy.

Miss Rathbone

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that for six months some of these internees in Australia have been penniless and have had no money to spend on cigarettes or anything else because it was taken from them either on board the "Dunera" or before they left?

Mr. Law

That is the allegation, but we must await the result of the Court of Inquiry to see whether or not it is well founded.

Mr. Benjamin Smith

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that those interned in foreign countries are in a worse position than those in Australia?

Mr. Wedgwood

Will the hon. Member remember that it is the British Empire we are talking about, and not foreign countries? May I ask the Financial Secretary whether he can give us any idea when this Court of Inquiry will be held and whether it will include the "Ettrick"?

Mr. Law

My right hon. Friend has already indicated that the Court of Inquiry is to be set up as soon as the preliminary inquiry is complete. As to whether it will include the "Ettrick" or not, perhaps my right hon. Friend would put that Question on the Paper