HC Deb 19 March 1942 vol 378 cc1645-6
63. Mr. Cocks

asked the Home Secretary what is the policy of His Majesty's Government regarding interning Japanese subjects in this country?

Mr. H. Morrison

Out of a total of some 500 Japanese in this country, about 100 have been interned in the interests of national security. The policy has been to effect internment on a selective basis as distinct from general internment but I shall not, of course, hesitate to order the internment of Japanese nationals if I am satisfied that they cannot be allowed to be at large without danger to the national interests.

Mr. Cocks

In view of the number of British prisoners in Japanese hands, is it not desirable to take as many of these poisonous people under our control as possible?

Mr. Morrison

I wish always to please the House, but it must be remembered that when there was general internment previously at the demand of the House, there was very quickly a reaction against it. The point my hon. Friend raises is a factor for consideration which would concern another Department as well as my own. I do not exclude it as a possibility, but I would like to be sure of the facts before I do so.

Mr. Cocks

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that unless they are interned, they may be subject to private vengeance?

Lieut.-Colonel. Sir Thomas Moore

Is there not a certain feeling of resentment against what is felt to be a form of old world courtesy towards these people?

Captain Duncan

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the number of police and the cost to the country in exercising Japanese, in view of the treatment of British nationals in Hong Kong and elsewhere? Will he consider a reduction in the exercise time and the number of police used to exercise these Japanese?

Mr. Morrison

I think that the hon. and gallant Member is referring to diplomatic personnel. There are diplomatic privileges all round, and so long as that is so, it is reasonable that the diplomatic personnel should exercise. When they do exercise, police are with them.

Sir W. Davison

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider particulars which I sent him about these Japanese exercising in Kensington Gardens, which my constituents strongly object to seeing them do after the atrocities in Hong Kong?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, I will certainly do that.