§ 1. Mr. Hugh Lawson
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that two coloured American soldiers have been sentenced to death for rape by a court-martial held in this country recently; and if he will inform the American Government that the carrying out of such a sentence would be interpreted by many people in this country as racial persecution and therefore likely to cause bad feeling between the two countries.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)
The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. The second part of the Question raises an issue upon which His Majesty's Government have no basis for representations to the United States Government.
§ Mr. Rhys Davies
Is it not an anomaly that a person can be sentenced to death on British soil, for an offence to which the same punishment would not apply under our own law?
§ Mr. Eden
The jurisdiction of the United States authorities over their Armed Forces in this country rests upon the Visiting Forces Act passed by this House in 1941. Therefore, I have no locus standi in the matter.
§ Mr. Hugh Lawson
Can the Foreign 1944 Secretary say whether the same sort of sentence has been passed for a similar offence, on white American soldiers in this country?