HC Deb 11 August 1947 vol 441 cc1918-9
Mr. Turton (By Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that a party of Yorkshire ex-Servicemen trekking to South Africa with their families, which include three young children, are held under arrest at Fort Trinquet in the Sahara, that facilities for communication with the Foreign Office have been denied to these British subjects, and what steps he is taking to secure their immediate release.

Mr. Mayhew

This case was brought to the notice of my right non. Friend on 7th August, and His Majesty's Ambassador in Paris was at once asked to take up the matter with the appropriate French authorities. His Majesty's Consul-General at Dakar has also been instructed by telegram to investigate and report on the position urgently.

Mr. Turton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that recent reports show that these families have been 21 days in arrest at this place, and surely some more urgent action should have been taken?

Mr. Mayhew

We immediately asked the French authorities what was the position. I think that possibly the remoteness of Fort Trinquet in the Sahara may have something to do with it, but I assure the hon. Member that we are aware of the importance of this and are looking into it as quickly as possible.