HC Deb 18 June 1941 vol 372 cc622-3
10. Mr. Cary

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will consider the advisability of instructing diplomatic and consular officers to re-examine the passports of United Kingdom nationals living abroad, and who are aged 20 to 41; and, further, a passport shall not be declared valid until it is proved that the holder has no statutory obligation under the Armed Forces Act or has been discharged from obligation by some special provision of the Act?

Mr. Eden

British subjects already abroad at the outbreak of war are not liable for service under the National Service (Armed Forces) Act unless they left Great Britain after the date on which a proclamation was issued requiring men of their age to register for military service. British subjects between the ages of 18 and 41 who have gone abroad since the beginning of the war have done so under a system of exit permits. Where necessary, undertakings to return were obtained, and a careful watch is kept on such cases. Consular officers have no power to require British subjects to surrender their passports.

Mr. J. J. Davidson

Do those regulations apply to women, as well as to men?

Mr. Eden

I would like notice of that question. I think they administer the Act. If the Act applies to them the regulations would, too.