§ 8. Miss Rathbone
asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that distress has been caused to some aliens who voluntarily joined the British Army by a recent Southern Command Order to the effect that aliens who are not residents of this country when joining the British Army would not be released in their age and service groups; for how long the release of such aliens will be deferred; and whether, after demobilisation, they will be given the same opportunity as other aliens in the British Forces to remain and take up work in this country, and to be considered for naturalisation.
§ Mr. Lawson
As I have previously explained to hon. Members, soldiers are normally released in the country in which they enlisted, and I am unable at present 192 to make any exceptions in favour of men who claim that they intend to apply for naturalisation. The men concerned can be released under the ordinary rules as soon as their group is reached. Any delay is due entirely to their wish to remain in this country after release, a matter which is under consideration with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, in connection with his statement on 15th November.
§ Miss Rathbone
Is it not both ungrateful and short sighted, in view of the impending decline in our population, to put impediments in the way of men who served us voluntarily and now want to become citizens of this country?
§ Mr. Lawson
It is a matter on which I can do nothing personally. My right hon. Friend made a statement on this matter on 15th November to the effect that he was giving consideration to the matter.