HC Deb 06 November 1950 vol 480 cc565-7
3. Miss Hornsby-Smith

asked the Minister of Supply how many of the staff at Harwell are naturalised citizens of alien birth.

7. Wing Commander Hulbert

asked the Minister of Supply how many naturalised British subjects are now employed at Harwell on atomic research; and what was their former nationality.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

Thirteen naturalised British subjects are employed at Harwell. Six were formerly German, three Austrian, one Swiss, one Polish, one French and one American.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

Is the Minister satisfied that such of these gentlemen as may have obtained employment in wartime as refugees from Nazi oppression have been re-screened in the light of their possible affiliation with Communism?

Mr. Strauss

Yes, Sir.

Wing Commander Hulbert

Does the Minister agree that the majority of these people who have acquired British nationality, are loyal to the Crown, and that it is only the odd one who lets the country down?

Mr. Strauss

Yes, Sir. I think it would be very regrettable if, because of recent incidents, any slur were to be cast on the excellent work and admirable character of those who are continuing their work at Harwell?

Mr. J. Langford-Holt

As an appeasement to the superstitious, will the Minister make the number 12 or 14 at the earliest possible opportunity?

Mr. Garner-Evans

Will the Minister, through his information officers, make known the enormous contribution made by these ex-foreign scientists?

Mr. Strauss

I thank the hon. Member for making that point, which I fully endorse.

Mr. M. Lindsay

Is the Minister aware that on security grounds we permit only British-born subjects to hold commissions in the Armed Forces? Surely it is much more important that these highly secret posts should be filled by British-born subjects.

Mr. Strauss

The general rule is that only British-born subjects are employed in work of this sort. Any exception has to be referred to me, and I have to give my special consideration to it.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

In view of the large sums spent by both sides on these so-called security operations and secret service, will the Minister consider whether it would not be cheaper to exchange information between countries?