HC Deb 20 March 1941 vol 370 c275
29. Mr. Bartlett

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the identical aims of the British and United States of America Governments in the present war, he will remove those restrictions upon American residents here which arise from their classification as aliens?

Mr. H. Morrison

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend that the most liberal policy should be followed in granting exemption from the aliens restrictions to citizens of the United States, and steps have already been taken to this end.

Mr. Bartlett

Does that mean that the majority of Americans will no longer have to go every month to get a permit to ride a bicycle or to be out after midnight and so on? Is it not a fact that they have to get such permits every month, and could they not be issued on a permanent basis?

Mr. Morrison

I have communicated with the chief constables and have asked them to administer the Regulations sympathetically in the case of Americans, unless there are reasons to the contrary. I think the House would agree that it would not do to assume that an American citizen should in every case be treated as though he were a British citizen.

Mr. Wedgwood

Is it not now possible to treat American citizens as though they were British citizens?

Mr. Morrison

As a matter of fact, we cannot treat every British citizen as above suspicion, and clearly it would be entirely wrong if I were to say that every one of a nation of 130,000,000 is above suspicion.

Sir William Davison

Does the right hon. Gentleman know that many Americans are not aware that they can apply for relaxation of these rules? In a case that I know of an American who made application was at once relieved of restrictions, although they had been in operation for many months.

Mr. Morrison

I was not aware of that. I hope that after this hearty interchange of views they will all know.