HC Deb 21 May 1946 vol 423 cc179-80
34. Mr. John Freeman

asked the Secretary of State for War by what authority he has forbidden marriages between Austrian and German women and British soldiers.

Mr. Bellenger

As explained to the House on 15th April, during the course of the Debate on Army Estimates, the orders forbidding such marriages were issued on advice that a General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Forces in occupation of foreign territory is competent to issue such orders, As that advice was challenged, I promised to take the advice of the Law Officers of the Crown. That is being done, and until I get their advice, I do not think there is anything I can usefully add to what was said on the occasion to which I have referred.

Mr. Freeman

In that case, will the Financial Secretary agree that, if a soldier, in spite of this order, does go through an ordinary form of marriage with an Austrian or German girl, he will be liable to punishment for disobeying the order, but none the less, the marriage will be perfectly legal?

Mr. Bellenger

In answer to the first part of the question, obviously, the soldier would be disobeying the order, and in that respect, it would be wrong for him to do so. In regard to the second part of the question, I am not in a position to give an answer whether the marriage would be legal or not.