HC Deb 29 May 1941 vol 371 cc1982-3
30. Miss Eleanor Rathbone

asked the Home Secretary whether any agreement has yet been arrived at with the Australian authorities to rescind or modify the regulation which prohibits interned aliens from sending cables; and, in view of the aggravation in the situation of these men, which has arisen from the fact that even when authorised for release they are not being actually released owing to lack of shipping to bring them home, he will press for an early decision on the question of cables?

Mr. H. Morrison

I would refer to the reply to the Question by the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) on 22nd May. I now understand that a decision by the Australian authorities on the question of amended regulations to allow internees to send cables in certain circumstances is expected very shortly.

Miss Rathbone

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this matter has now been dragging on for nine months and that this regulation works very cruelly? It takes months to get a reply. Even in very urgent cases of sickness or important business matters they cannot communicate with their friends by cable. Will he ask the Australians to hurry up with the revision of a regulation which the Canadian authorities have never thought it necessary to impose?

Mr. Morrison

I have done and will do my best in the matter, but, as the hon. Lady will appreciate, it is a long-distance business, and I do rather think she is somewhat exaggerating the gravity of the situation.

Sir Joseph Lamb

Is it also realised that the war has been going on for some considerable time and that that also is not finished?