§ 4. Mr. Driberg
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will seek assurances from the Polish Government that Polish courts-martial held in this country under the authority of the Allied Forces Act, 1940, will in future, in accordance with normal British practice, be open and not secret.
§ Mr. Eden
No, Sir. The authority conferred upon the Polish Government under the Allied Forces Act enables them to exercise within the United Kingdom, in matters concerning the discipline and internal administration of the Polish forces, all such powers as are conferred upon them by Polish law, and in present circumstances I am satisfied that there would be no justification for asking the Polish Government to give the assurances suggested by the hon. Member.
§ Mr. Driberg
Is there not some distinction that can be drawn between questions of law, discipline, sentences and so 1878 forth, and mere questions of procedure, such as the holding of a trial in open or in secret?
§ Mr. Silverman
Is it not the case that when the Act was passed by this House, which gave the Polish Government powers which they are now exercising, assurances were given by the Minister in charge of the Bill that in exercising those powers they would not act in conflict with the general spirit of our own law?
§ Mr. Driberg
In the case of the recent courts-martial, did not the Polish authorities state that the only reason for excluding the British Press was that the proceedings were all in Polish and would not be understood? And is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one man now awaiting court-martial is an English-speaking Pole, who has lived in this country for many years and speaks no Polish? So what will happen about him?