HC Deb 12 April 1945 vol 409 cc1969-70
38. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the number of cases involved, he will make a statement as to how British unmarried women may lay claims against men serving in the American forces in this country in respect of their illegitimate children.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

The position is that the mother of an illegitimate child can apply to a court for an affiliation order against an American soldier, in the same way as she can against a British soldier, and the American authorities co-operate fully in arranging the service of summonses on members of their forces in this country and in enforcing any affiliation orders made against them. The necessary procedure in cases in which proceedings are taken has been fully explained to Clerks to Justices in a Home Office circular, of which I am sending my hon. Friend a copy.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

Does the same procedure apply if the American soldier is moved overseas?

Mr. Morrison

I understand that that is so. The American authorities will pursue the case.

Mr. Taylor

May I ask my right hon. Friend to give publicity to this, because there is very great misunderstanding on the point?

Mr. Stephen

Will the right hon. Gentleman send each Member of the House a copy?

Mr. Buchanan

I agree with the reasonableness of my right hon. Friend's answer but might I ask him to consult with the Scottish Secretary of State, because the law does not seem to apply in that way in Scotland? Will he see if he can make some arrangement that it should apply?

Mr. Morrison

I shall be glad to confer with my right hon. Friend on the point. I will put a copy or copies in the Library. If any one wishes to have a copy I shall be glad to supply it if he will communicate with me.

Sir Joseph Lamb

Will the right hon. Gentleman confer with the American authorities to see that any orders that are made will be operative when the men return home, because at present that is not so?

Mr. Morrison

That is a point of legal doubt to which we are giving attention.