HC Deb 29 January 1941 vol 368 cc539-40
16. Mr. Silverman

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies how many refugees from Nazi oppression are interned in Jamaica; whether they are detained in the same camp as known Nazi sympathisers whether their cases are being reviewed with a view to their release; and whether the policy of the Home Government as to such refugees is being applied in Jamaica?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. George Hall)

The total number of enemy aliens interned in Jamaica, including such enemy aliens as have been transferred from other territories for internment in the Colony, and enemy merchant seamen, is approximately 950. Included in this number are 25 male and nine female Germans who were resident in Jamaica before the outbreak of war; all of these claim to be anti-Nazi and most of them have appealed against their detention. Of the 25 males, all of whom are in one camp, 13 are Jewish, and these are partially segregated. Of the nine females, seven are Jewish and all are in one camp. The provision of completely segregated accommodation for internees whose anti-Nazi sympathies are not open to doubt has been under consideration, but there are practical difficulties. As the hon. Member is aware, the Governor is now in this country for consultation in another connection, and it is proposed to discuss the whole question with him.

Mr. Silverman

While thanking my hon. Friend for that answer, may I ask whether any steps will be taken to ensure that persons whose anti-Nazi sympathies are not open to question are not interned at all; and whether the policy of the Home Office in this country will be applied in Jamaica?

Mr. Hall

The Colonies are, of course, kept informed of the changes which are taking place in this country in connection with this matter. As I point out in the last paragraph of the reply, this matter is now being considered by the Governor, who is at present in this country.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the hon. Gentleman urge upon the Governor in view of the very grave injustice of interning Nazis and anti-Nazis together, that, if internment must be carried out, there should, at least, be effective separation, and that the practical difficulties should be overcome?

Mr. Hall

There is very little difficulty with regard to the Jamaicans, or those who were resident in Jamaica before the outbreak of the war. My hon. Friend will however see the difficulty of discriminating, particularly among enemy seamen and others, because you must have some corroboration with regard to their political views, before you can take action. I assure my hon. Friend that the matter is being considered by the Governor.