HC Deb 15 May 1941 vol 371 cc1261-2
60. Major Vyvyan Adams

asked the Minister of Information why, since Rudolf Hess, the deputy of the enemy dictator, descended in Scotland at some moment during the night of 10th and nth May, he did not take steps to anticipate the German broadcast, alleging Hess's insanity, by an announcement of our own anterior to midnight, 12th and 13th May?

The Prime Minister

I will reply to this Question. It may be just as well that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Information did not do so, since the suggestion has been repudiated by later and fuller contradictory German explanations.

Mr. J. J. Davidson

Is the Prime Minister aware that the Daily Express denied that Hess landed in Scotland, and said that he landed in England?

The Prime Minister

The information is correct in respect of Scotland.

Mr. Granville

In view of the various and contradictory reports, and in view of the report regarding the Duke of Hamilton this morning, will the Prime Minister take the first opportunity of giving the House of Commons, the Parliament of the country, authentic news on this matter?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, I will; but in selecting the opportunity, I must have regard to the public interest.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Is not Scotland England?

Major Adams

Does not my right hon. Friend consider that it was unfortunate that 48 hours were allowed to elapse, during which the enemy were enabled to issue an entirely deceitful version?

The Prime Minister

It was certainly not unfortunate, and if it had been unfortunate, it would have been unavoidable, because we had first of all to establish the identity of the German airman who had landed, and we only had evidence which, though it was very interesting, could not be considered conclusive. In view of the surprising character of the occurrence, I did not believe it, although I was very interested, when I was told in the course of Sunday; but I immediately sent up an officer who knew the Deputy Fuhrer and who was able to speak with him in good and fluent German. While that was still proceeding, there came the German announcement of the insanity of the Deputy Fuhrer and his flight to England. [HON. MEMBERS: "Scotland."] Yes, Scotland. What had hitherto been a surmise built on increasing probability merged into definite certainty.

Mr. Woodburn

Is there any truth in the inference given by the German wireless that they wished to impress upon Germany that Scotland was ready to make a separate peace with Germany?

The Prime Minister

Whatever delusions may exist, that is not among them.