HC Deb 27 October 1952 vol 505 cc1578-627

3.32 p.m.

Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)

I beg to move, in page 2, line 11, at the end, to insert: (5) No such Order in Council shall take effect, or purport to take effect, unless and until the Minister of Defence or other appropriate Minister has certified that satisfactory reciprocal arrangements have been, or are about to be, made with the Government of the designated country. The object of this Amendment and other Amendments on the Order Paper is, as the House will see, to write into the Bill some words which will ensure that the principle of reciprocity of the Bill is firmly established. While no doubt it does matter how that is done, what we are concerned with is not the exact words of the Amendment, which may be open to this or that criticism, but with the principle of writing into the Bill the principle of reciprocity, so that the very substantial privileges which the Bill confers on visiting soldiers, sailors and airmen in this country shall be conferred upon soldiers, sailors and airmen in this country in the country which they visit. We feel that this principle of reciprocity must be an all-round one, and that one country to this multilateral convention cannot be excepted from it.

We think that on this Report stage of the Bill we have come to an important issue, because there is no doubt that the Bill was recommended to us, and recommended to us repeatedly, by Members of the Government at all earlier stages of the Bill as embodying this principle of reciprocity. Therefore, the Second Reading of the Bill was agreed to, and much of the Committee stage was also passed, on the basis that the Bill was reciprocal and that no one would defend it if it were not.

I ought briefly to recall the Government's statements on this matter. They began in another place, where the Lord Chancellor gave an extremely lucid exposition of the Bill and had this to say about reciprocity: I should think it unlikely that Her Majesty by Order in Council will confer any privileges or benefits upon visiting forces of other countries, unless assured by the fact, or by an expression of intention on which reliance can be placed, that reciprocal advantages will be given to this country."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords. 26th June, 1952; Vol. 177, c. 485.] It did not seem to me that that was a perfectly watertight assurance, but it certainly presented the Bill to their Lordships on the basis of reciprocity.

The House will see that, in the words which have been tabled in the Amendment, my hon. Friends and I accept the principle that it may not be possible to wait until parallel enactments have been made in other countries. We are willing to accept an earlier, in the Lord Chancellor's words, expression of intention on which reliance can be placed in the other countries.

The Home Secretary, of course, went a good deal further than that. In our discussions in Committee, he made it perfectly clear that he was recommending the Bill to us on the basis of a sure belief that reciprocity was to be given to us. He said: The important point is that we should be sure that the Government are satisfied that there will be reciprocal arrangements and I hope that, on consideration, the Committee will be satisfied with the undertaking that I am proposing to give. The right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) said that he hoped there would be some assurance and, if I may say so with respect, that is entirely right."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd October, 1952; Vol. 505, c. 1069.] And so we had agreement there again that this principle of reciprocity—no one at that stage doubted that that meant all-round reciprocity—was accepted, and that it was on that basis that we would pass the Bill.

To revert to the Second Reading of the Bill, let me quote from the speech of the Attorney-General, when he gave his assurance to the House. These are the words which I ought to recall to hon. Members: The most that one can be expected to say in this matter is that we shall not apply the provisions of the Act under Clause 1 (2) or (3) until we have done everything we can to satisfy ourselves that the other country concerned is going to make it practical."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th October, 1952; Vol. 505, c. 641.] As I understand those words, they mean that the Government would not apply the Act until it was assured that practical steps were to be taken by the opposite number country, as it were, to give effect to similar provisions there. That was the basis upon which we on this side abstained from any opposition to the Second Reading of the Bill.

No doubt there are many different ways of giving effect to that provision. I do not know whether I speak for everybody on this side of the House, but I, for one, would be satisfied with an unequivocal assurance on the part of the Government to the House that they would abide by that assurance in all circumstances and in all cases and without the major exception to it which became evident later on in the course of our deliberations in Committee.

Why those deliberations took some time and why we are considering the matter again now is simply that as the debate in Committee proceeded it became clear, first from Government statements and then it was elucidated by my hon. Friends behind me, that there was a huge exception being made to this principle of reciprocity. That was in the case of the United States visiting forces, and we were being asked just in the case of the major example where major numbers of forces actually were on our territories, to go ahead with the Bill—not only to pass it, but to apply it completely unilaterally, and without, as it seemed to us to emerge, any assurance whatever that the United States Government either would or, worse still, could apply it themselves. If that really is the position—and it seemed to be the position in the Committee stage—it is a quite different one from that which faced us on Second Reading.

I recognise that there are arguments for doing that; I do not say there is no case for doing it. It is true that if one proceeds unilaterally and without worrying about reciprocity in the case of the United States, one can argue that this Measure, by replacing that of 1942, would improve our position and that, without the United States Government taking any parallel action, it may be argued, we should in one sense be better off.

There is some force in that argument, but against it we must notice that the 1942 Act was never intended to be permanent, whereas this is intended to be permanent. Therefore, a question of principle arises here; the principle of reciprocity is far more important than in a temporary Act. When we are putting a permanent piece of legislation on the Statute Book, surely the question whether it is a reciprocal multilateral arrangement in which one retains the same privileges as one gives becomes of far greater importance.

I think it might be argued even so that we should not be too "sticky" about this question and that it is really a question of running a little ahead of American action which, it is easy to assume, would soon follow on our action. I, for my part, would remain somewhat uneasy, but I do not think the House would take that very heavily. But again, as the debate proceeded it seemed to me—and I think to most of my hon. Friends—that that was not the situation at all.

I had frankly imagined that it was merely a case of waiting until parallel legislation had been passed by the United States Congress. I imagined that the action which had been initiated in the Congress in July was of that character. But now, as I understand it, that was not so. If I am wrong, I hope that the Home Secretary will intervene to correct me, because I think it will save time and I do not wish to push this point if it is not well founded. As I understand it, the action initiated in the United States Congress in the summer was not to pass parallel legislation with this, but merely to ratify the convention, which in itself is an empty gesture——

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir David Maxwell Fyfe)

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman but, as I promised, I have made inquiries and I should like to give a coherent picture. I did not agree, and my right hon. Friends did not agree, that it was an empty gesture, but I think it would be better if I gave the whole picture rather than interrupted piecemeal.

Mr. Strachey

But the action which was initiated was merely that of ratification and not of parallel legislation to this.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I am sorry to interrupt, but the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that it is important on this point. The ratification by all countries, including our own, must be done in accordance with the agreement. I entirely agree that it was the initiation of the steps which would result in ratification, but if the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to give the picture of the American procedure, he will see that there is a difference in the point I was making.

3.45 p.m.

Mr. Strachey

We shall await that with very great interest and it will certainly influence me very much indeed if we can be given a real assurance that it is merely a question of time and the fact that the Congress is up at the moment, which means that we have to wait a few months. There would certainly be nothing very terrible in that.

But the picture, as we saw it, was that the action which had been initiated and for which we would have to wait only a few months, call it what we will, would not in effect give to British, French or other N.A.T.O. forces on the soil of the United States parallel privileges to those which are being given here. If it does, of course that is a different matter, and it means merely that the point is narrowed to whether we run ahead a little. If as I understand it—and I must base my argument on that until and unless it can be shown that that is not the case—the action initiated in the United States would by itself do little or nothing actually to confer parallel privileges such as we are conferring on visiting forces in this country.

It is of the greatest importance that we should know whether that is so or not because, to go back to what the Home Secretary was saying to us in Committee, he actually accused us on this side of the House of wasting time and labouring the point by the mere suggestion that the United States Government might be not so much unwilling as unable actually to take action—whatever we like to call it, ratification, or a Bill, or whatever is their technical name for the action of Congress—which would in fact confer these privileges on N.A.T.O. forces visiting that country. I think I ought to quote his words. We remember the Home Secretary saying: The other point that has been put to me is whether the United States of America can bring in the necessary legislation, and it is said that I have no evidence in that regard. I have the very good evidence that the United States are one of the signatories of the agreement. If hon. Gentlemen will look at page 15 of the agreement, they will see the signatures of various countries, and of the United States of America."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd October, 1952; Vol. 505, c. 1092.] Then he went on to say that it was wasting the Committee's time to suggest that that was not evidence that the United States were not going to ratify. No doubt it is evidence that the United States Administration intended to ratify, but it does not seem evidence either that they would necessarily be able to ratify or, much more important, that ratification would convey and grant parallel privileges to our own forces. That is the essential point which we think it vital that the Home Secretary, or whoever speaks for the Government, should deal with today.

Without pretending to be a constitutional lawyer—I am not one in this country and still less in the United States—I could not but be impressed when my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) read the relevant sections of the American Constitution, including Article V, which is perhaps the most important single article in that Constitution, or one of them. It seemed very difficult to understand how the United States Government could grant these privileges to N.A.T.O. forces on its own soil.

Therefore, unless we can be reassured—it is very difficult for me to see how we can be assured but I hope I am wrong on this—we are being asked to pass this Bill on a totally different basis from the one on which we were asked to pass it. We are being asked to pass it on a unilateral basis, which is completely one-sided, without any hope or expectation of the United States Government, which is the very Government which is really relevant in this matter, can, with the best will the world, do the same for us. That puts us in a very different and difficult position indeed. One has then to make up one's mind whether it really matters whether we give the United States reciprocity or not. There are two considerations of a different character as to whether that matters.

The first is whether it matters in practice or not. It may be said that we are very unlikely to have great masses of British forces on American territory in the same way as we have large masses of American forces on our territory. There is something in that. It does not matter to us so much if we are unlikely to have great masses of forces there; I quite agree on that; but it is by no means the case that we are sure never to have forces in the United States in the future. There may be squadrons of the Air Force there, as there have been in the past from time to time. I do not want to press that argument too far, but there is a certain point about the actual practical advantage of there being the same privileges for our forces there as the American forces enjoy here.

Then there is the question of principle. Is it really a good thing to convey the very considerable privileges not only on American but on all foreign forces of N.A.T.O. countries or those of Commonwealth countries in this country when the biggest of the signatories to the convention cannot apparently convey the same privileges to our forces? I am not a man who thinks that these questions of national prestige, as they are called, are necessarily very vital, but there is surely some such thing as national feelings in a matter of this sort, and they cannot be quite brushed aside.

I say that for a practical reason, that if they are, the instruments, the conventions, the statutes which brush them aside become exceedingly unpopular and exceedingly difficult to work and are apt to do much more harm than good. This is a statute made, as we hope, to regulate and thereby do good, or prevent harm from being done, to Anglo-American relations. If it is too one sided, it may have exactly the opposite consequences.

It really does face the House with a most important choice. Are we to have these conventions multilaterally signed by all the N.A.T.O. countries and then discover, if we do discover it, that one of the most important of all the signatories to it, the United States, in spite of signing it, cannot, with the best will in the world, go on to implement it? Does it matter—I put the case concretely—or does it not that while the United States, not only on the soil of Britain but on the soil of every other N.A.T.O. State, will enjoy these very substantial privileges, N.A.T.O. forces on United States soil cannot be given these same privileges—not only British troops but French, Italian and any other N.A.T.O. forces there?

I am bound to say that I think that it does matter. It seems to me that in respect of having good, by which I mean self-respecting, Anglo-American relations and N.A.T.O.-American relations also, it really is very important that reciprocity should be given in these matters. During our deliberations in Committee, there was an important interjection which I am sure most of us on this side of the House heard—"I suppose they are being anti-American again." It came from the Prime Minister himself. Is it being anti-American to insist that reciprocity in this way is really important and really matters? I believe that, far from being anti-American, it is really serving the cause of decent and self-respecting Anglo-American relations much better to be even apparently a little "sticky in these matters, to be even a little punctilious about them. And I think it is worth being more than that because there is a point of considerable substance here.

Just because we want the N.A.T.O. arrangements to work and be smooth and harmonious, it really will not do to leave the matter where it would be if that assumption were correct. If it can be blown away, so much the better. It would not be in the best interests of Anglo-American and the whole N.A.T.O. arrangements to let these things pass unless we can be completely reassured on this matter.

It seems to me that we ought either to insert in the Bill some words of the kind used in this Amendment, which I think would be the best way, as these words would seem to serve the purpose well and make it impossible to go ahead without reciprocity; or, failing that, to have a watertight assurance from the Government that reciprocity will be obtained before the Measure is applied.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I gather that the House would rather hear from me before there is any further debate. I should like to point out just one fact regarding the quotation from my speech during the Committee stage which the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) was good enough to make. He quoted from c. 1069 of HANSARD of 22nd October, 1952. I know the difficulty of giving lengthy quotations in full, but I think that the House ought to have in mind that I said, as reported at the foot of that column: I am in a position to give an undertaking to the effect that Her Majesty's Government will, subject to the exemption which I shall mention in a moment, not apply the Measure to any foreign country until they are satisfied that the country can guarantee to offer reciprocal treatment to British Forces visiting its territory. The exemption relates to the United States of America."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd October, 1952; Vol. 505, c. 1069–70.] I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman is the last person to desire to mislead the House and would agree that it is only right that it should be made quite clear that I continued in that way.

Mr. Strachey

I entirely agree that it was at that point, when the right hon. and learned Gentleman used the word "exemption," that this whole issue began to emerge. I did not wish to convey anything different.

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)

Surely the important passage is the right hon. and learned Gentleman's intervention in c. 1073?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

That was not the column to which the right hon. Member for Dundee, West referred. The point I was making is that, while it is quite fair to quote one part of what I said, it is important that that should be in its context, and that I immediately went on to state the exemption. There was no question then of not informing the House that an exemption had to be made.

4.0 p.m.

I have read the undertaking that I gave, and I have now indicated that the exemption which I made was made in view of the unique statutory position of the United States of America. I hope that the House will not press me to go beyond that undertaking when I have tried, as I shall try, to cover the point on which there was some dubiety and difficulty during our discussions on Wednesday night.

I think it important to begin by remembering that, as regards the United States of America, the position is complicated by the fact that when this Bill comes into force the Allied Forces Act, 1940, and the United States of America (Visiting Forces) Act, 1942, will immediately be repealed. I ask the House to consider the positions that were open to us. It would have been possible to secure that when these Acts were repealed nothing took their place; but I do not think that anyone would seriously put that point forward, because there must be some procedure to enable the American visiting forces to maintain discipline.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

May I ask a question?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman, but I ask—because some of the difficulty we had the other night was due to trying to explain piecemeal the points which arose—hon. Gentlemen opposite to exercise a certain patience until I have given my explanation to them.

Mr. Silverman

I merely wanted to ask a question of fact. Will the previous Acts which are being repealed on the coming into force of this Bill be repealed before the promulgation of the Order in Council designating the United States as a country to which the Bill applies? If the answer is that they will be, it affects the right hon. and learned Gentleman's point.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

If the hon. Member will be good enough to look at Clause 18 of the Bill, he will see that it says: These are hereby repealed. and that refers, in paragraph (b) to the two Acts which I have mentioned. That will operate as soon as the Bill comes into operation under Clause 19 (2).

Mr. Silverman

Then they will be, and in that case there will be an inevitable interregnum, when the United States forces are not entitled to maintain discipline under any Act, because when this Bill comes into force other Acts will be automatically repealed, but they will not get the benefit of this Bill until by affirmative Resolution we have obtained the Order in Council applying it to them. In any event there will be an interregnum.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

That is the position I was putting to the House when the hon. Member interrupted me. I was saying that was a position which no one could contemplate, and the right hon. Gentleman opposite nodded in agreement when I made that point—at least I understood him to do so, though I do not want to read too much into a nod. We cannot contemplate an interregnum when the United States forces would not have power to enforce discipline. I say that course is quite unrealistic.

The alternative is that the provisions of this Measure should apply to the United States, notwithstanding that they have not ratified the agreement at the time the Bill comes into force. It would have been possible to have drafted the Bill in a different way, and to have proposed that the repeal of the 1942 Act, and of the 1940 Act in its application to the United States, should have been made conditional on the application of this Bill to the United States; which was the point about which the hon. Gentleman asked me. But in our view there are two reasons against such a course.

The first is that, in the view of the Government it was not unreasonable to work on the assumption that the United States Government will ratify the agreement they signed last year. The other is that, as various hon. Members have pointed out, the arrangements made in 1942 whereby exceptional privileges of exclusive jurisdiction were conferred on the United States, while they might be appropriate in war-time and the aftermath of war, are not appropriate for peacetime; and it would be better to substitute our proposals of concurrent jurisdiction.

That is the position as we see it. The point which has been rather blurred in the course of a very interesting discussion—about which I do not complain for a moment—is that the course we are taking will create an important improvement from the point of view of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, namely, in giving us greater powers and the visiting forces from the United States less power.

I was asked for details of the progress that the United States Government were making towards ratification. I shall deal with that position in a moment, but I wish to make two prefatory remarks. The first is that, as a general matter of international probity, it is not usual for the Governments or Parliaments of other States to inquire minutely whether the State is competent to ratify the agreement; because good faith in international relations depends upon the assumption that Governments do not sign agreements which they cannot possibly ratify.

The second is that, in the nature of things, we cannot say whether all the countries which have signed the agreement will eventually ratify it; and we cannot say when they will ratify it; but international agreements—as I pointed out with some poetic allusion which the House will excuse—would never come into force if each State waited to see what the other would do before giving effect to them.

Now may I pass to the information we have obtained about the United States? I hope it will not unduly tire hon. Members if I say in a word what is the ratification procedure, because we had some discussion on it on the last occasion. The process of ratification is that the President sends the agreement to the Senate with a request for their advice and consent to its ratification. The agreement is then put on the calendar of the appropriate committee and, after they have completed their deliberations, they present the agreement to the Senate with their recommendations.

The right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) was, I think, in slight error on one point. He thought consent to ratification required a two-thirds majority of the whole Senate. It is a two-thirds majority of those sitting and voting. I checked that point. The agreement is then returned to the President for signature on ratification.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

It is a two-thirds majority of those present and voting that is required?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Yes. The right hon. Gentleman made a slip when he said it was a two-thirds majority of the whole Senate, and I wanted to correct him on that point.

It does not go for ratification to the House of Representatives, the other House of Congress. I have stressed that because that is the treaty-making procedure to which I referred shortly the other day, and the effect of ratification by the Senate is that the agreement becomes the law of the United States.

Although it becomes the law, it may be that certain additional detailed legislation may be necessary for applying it and working it out in some respects; and I am informed that certain detailed additional legislation may be necessary for its implementation concerning article VIII, relating to claims, article VII, relating to criminal offences, and article III (paragraphs 1 and 5), relating to the entry and departure of aliens, and article II concerning customs facilities.

I was asked during the debate the other day whether State legislation will be necessary. I have been in touch with my advisers, and the advice I have been given is that additional legislation in individual American States will probably not be required, although, on Articles IV and VI, administration regulations will be necessary in some States.

With regard to the more general position, I am told that a law enacted by the Federal Government within its powers—that is, Federal powers as opposed to State powers—is binding on all States, and that, in general, a law to implement a treaty is within the powers of the Federal Government.

The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) raised the question of constitutional difficulties with regard to the constitution as a whole. I took the advice which he suggested I should take, and I am advised that there are no constitutional obstacles which would prevent the ratification of the agreement by the United States. With regard to that, and to the difficulties which the hon. and learned Genleman raised, I should remind or perhaps inform him of this fact.

The facilities given to United States forces in the United Kingdom under the 1942 Act—which, the House will remember, were exclusive jurisdiction in the hands of the United States authorities—were given to us in the United States reciprocally in 1944 by Public Law No. 384 of the 78th Congress and contained in the Presidential Proclamation No. 2626 of 11th October, 1944. That reinforces the advice that I was given: if it was possible under the United States constitution to operate these courts, the position would be not so difficult in regard to concurrent jurisdiction.

4.15 p.m.

With regard to the present position, the President sought the consent of the Senate to ratification on 16th June, 1952, but the agreement has not yet been considered by the Senate, and, as was pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee, West, the next meeting cannot be until after the election. Therefore, one has to accept that this matter will be dealt with in the next Session, which begins on 5th January. I understand that it has been recommended to the Senate as important and meriting their early consideration. That is the position with regard to ratification.

Legislation to supplement ratification has not yet been introduced, but I am informed that work is being done on it now, and that it is likely to be introduced at about the same time as the Senate Committee begins work on the agreement itself. Hon and right hon. Gentlemen opposite did say that I should have had particulars of the legislation, and I accept the position that, had there been any extract available, I should have had it; but the legislation is still in the stage of drafting.

I do not think it is reasonable to expect to be given particulars of draft legislation and I do not think that any hon. or right hon. Gentlemen opposite would expect us to give to the United States particulars of legislation at an early or intermediate stage of drafting. I cannot remember that ever occurring in my governmental experience, though hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite may have had it in theirs. As a general principle, although I do not say that it could not happen in an exceptional case, this House would be rather surprised if details of draft legislation had been communicated to a foreign country before it had been placed before this House.

Therefore, as regards the United States, we are advised that there is no constitutional difficulty, that the agreement has been sent to the Senate for ratification, and that the legislation is in preparation. When we take account of our experience with regard to the other Act, I do not think that we need expect any great constitutional difficulty. Certainly, that is the advice which we have had on the matter.

I do not want to detain the House by going through a great many other facts, but I told the Committee on Wednesday that each of the Commonwealth countries which enjoyed privileges under the 1933 Act had reciprocal legislation. All the Commonwealth countries have been informed of our proposals in the present Bill, and, of course, Canada, which is a signatory to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Agreement, has passed the necessary legislation.

There are just one or two other points which I think are worthy of the attention of the House. We are informed that the French Government has deposited its instrument of ratification. During the Committee stage, the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch said that the United Kingdom had ratified the agreement. That, as I am sure he will realise, was a slip on his part and is not the case. This Bill is to enable us to ratify the agreement; the ratification is provided for in the agreement itself. It was also asked why we are the first country to take action. We are not the first: as I said, Canada has passed the necessary legislation, and France has actually deposited its instrument of ratification, so they are both ahead of us.

There was one other general point indicated by the right hon. Gentleman today, although he did not make it his sheet anchor. He said, and this was rather implied on the last occasion that we discussed the Bill—that the only visiting Forces in this country or likely to be in this country were those of the United States. At the moment there are also Canadians, and I do not think it is improbable that forces from other N.A.T.O. countries will from time to time be stationed in this country in order to take part in exercises or for purposes of training.

That brings me to the next point which some hon. Gentlemen made and which I think deserves consideration. It was suggested that there was no hurry about the Bill and that it could easily be put off till next Session. I think that the hon. Gentlemen who pressed that aspect of the matter have, perhaps, forgotten that we ourselves have troops in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries, for example, in France, and that the privileges of the agreement cannot be enjoyed by them until the agreement is in force and until we have ratified it. But, as I pointed out to the House a few moments ago, we cannot ratify it until we have changed our law so as to put ourselves in a position to do so.

I have tried to deal with the points on which I undertook to get information for the House and have got the fullest information that was available to me. With regard to the broad argument put forward by the right hon. Gentleman, I do not resile at all from the importance I attach to that. I gave an undertaking during the Committee stage that, apart from the United States, we would not apply the benefits to foreign countries until we believed that they were in a position to guarantee their adherence to the arrangement. I am not departing from that undertaking at all; indeed, I am repeating the undertaking I gave in Committee.

Next we come to the position of the United States. It is certainly not my belief that there is any portending difficulty in this matter, either constitutionally or voluntarily. If I did, I would tell the House. That, so to speak, deals with what the right hon. Gentleman, with great restraint, called a matter of feeling. It is not a question of flouting that feeling at all; it is merely a question of believing it will occur in due process of time.

Then we come to the sphere of the practical, of what is the practical course to take. I believe the only practical course is to proceed at once to the more favourable position of this Bill, the position of concurrent jurisdiction, rather than to remain in the position of the exclusive enclave, which people like much less.

I should like to have met the House on this matter, and although it may be slightly irregular to say so, Mr. Speaker, I think that those who have read the Order Paper will see that I have taken great trouble, which it was incumbent on me to take, to consider and answer the points raised generally on the Bill. It is not possible to do that here, but, for the reasons I have given, I hope that the House, even with the reluctance that has been expressed, will accept this undertaking as being sufficient and will also accept the view which I hold. I see no reason for thinking otherwise than that in due course all the necessary steps will be taken and that the position desired by the right hon. Gentleman will come about.

Mr. S. Silverman

I am sure that the whole House is indebted to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for the lucid and painstaking way in which he has addressed himself to the argument which proceeded in Committee stage and which has led to the raising of the question again today. I hope it is no derogation from that tribute to say that, for my part, I still do not understand why the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not accept this Amendment.

It is common ground that these arrangements, if made, ought to be reciprocal, and that that principle applies as much to the United States as to any other country. Other things being equal, it would then be difficult to understand why any exception should be made in the case of the United States of America, why either this Amendment or some similar Amendment should not be accepted and applied to all countries, or why, in the undertaking given by the right hon. and learned Gentleman in Committee, there should be any exception whatever in the case of the United States.

Clause 1 of the Bill is very widely drawn, and I think that every hon. Member who has spoken has referred to its affecting countries which are part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and members of the Commonwealth. But, of course, the Clause is wider than that. The Government can apply the provisions of this Bill to any country with whom we have defence arrangements, and such countries might well include any country which is a member of the United Nations because, in a sense, we have defence arrangements with all countries which are with us in the United Nations organisation, and it is important to realise that its provisions would certainly apply to any arrangement which we made with Western Germany, which is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and which, as at present constituted, cannot be a member.

I gather that the right hon. and learned Gentleman's difficulty in the case of America was that there might be some undesirable interregnum, if any such undertaking were given in that case, when United States forces in this country would not be protected by the 1942 Act or by this Measure and, therefore, would have no means whatsoever of enforcing discipline on their own members while they were in this country.

4.30 p.m.

With great respect to the right hon. and learned Gentleman's argument, I am not convinced that that is so. I hope he follows me about this, because I quite recognise that I am very likely wrong. I should be really grateful if it could be pointed out early that there is an error, if there is one, because I should not like to take up the time of the House on a point which can be proved to be false. The right hon. and learned Gentleman referred me to the repeal Clause—Clause 18—and pointed out that— There are hereby repealed—

  1. (a) sections one to three of the Visiting Forces (British Commonwealth) Act, 1933, and subsection (1) of section five of that Act; and
  2. (b) the Allied Forces Act, 1940, and the United States of America (Visiting Forces) Act, 1942:"
But it is important to realise what "hereby" means. "Hereby" means when the Act becomes operative; not when the Bill is an Act, not when the Royal Assent is given to it, but when it becomes operative. That is governed, not by Clause 18, but by Clause 19 (2), where we have the provision: This Act shall come into operation on such date as Her Majesty may by Order in Council appoint,"— and this is the important phrase— and different dates may be appointed in relation to different provisions of this Act. It means, therefore, that there need be no such mischievous interregnum as the right hon. and learned Gentleman feared. If he were to accept our Amendment or if, failing that, he were to take the exemption of the United States out of the undertaking he gave, then, in order to make sure that the mischief which he fears does not take place, all he has to do is to make certain that no Order in Council under Clause 19 (2) is promulgated until he is satisfied that reciprocity has been, or immediately will be, attained.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

May I say at once that I think the hon. Member is right about that. It follows from the view that I put to hon. Members as being my own view of the provision when we discussed this in Committee. I am sorry that that momentarily escaped me when the hon. Member made his point and I want to admit at once that I overlooked it. But that does not take away the other point. As I tried to make clear, I do not like the continuing of the 1942 Act.

Mr. Silverman

I am very much obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. As I understood it, the right hon. and learned Gentleman has two principal reasons for not wishing to put himself in the same position as regards the United States as he was quite willing to put himself it with regard to all other countries affected by this Bill. Of the two difficulties which he felt, one is gone, and I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for kindly conceding the point. There is no need at all to say, and it is not true, that if he does what we would like him to do, and what I rather gathered he himself would like to do, the result would be that the American forces would have no power to enforce their own discipline. It is not so, and it is conceded that it is not so.

We are left with the other point, and it is a point of substance. If one takes the view that this Bill is very much better than the 1942 Act, then one is reluctant to prolong the 1942 Act longer than one needs and deprive oneself of the benefit of what would be a better Measure. I do not take that view; but let us suppose that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is right and that this Bill is at all points better than the 1942 Act. We have had the 1942 Act now for 10 years. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman is right in his arguments, the United States Government will ratify this Agreement in a very short time, because, if they are not going to do that in a very short time, the right hon. and learned Gentleman could not have given us the reassurance which he wanted to give us. If he is right and the United States Government ratify in a very short time, we shall not have to put up with the 1942 Act instead of this Bill for very much longer.

I suggest to him in all seriousness that it is very much better from our point of view that we should put up with the comparative disadvantages of the 1942 Act for a few weeks or months longer in order to make absolutely certain of the principle of reciprocity, which every one of us, including the right hon. and learned Gentleman, accepts. Surely the balance of convenience is quite clear. We are carrying on very well under the 1942 Act, and in some of the ways in which we do not like that Act this Bill does not improve it. The right hon. and learned Gentleman's principal point that there would be an interregnum in the case of the United States forces if we adopt this Amendment having gone, there is really no comprehensible reason why the right hon. and learned Gentleman should continue to reject the Amendment which has been moved.

Let us be practical about this. It is quite true that the Bill may refer to a great many other countries, but I say—and I do not think the right hon. and learned Gentleman will deny it—that if it had not been for the United States we would not have had a Bill like this at all. We could have made very good arrangements of a more limited kind with all the countries concerned. The United States prefer this. I am not complaining about that. They are perfectly entitled to decide for themselves what kind of arrangements they like and to negotiate those arrangements to the best of their ability. But when we have negotiated these arrangements, when they have been decided—and no one wants to go back on them—let us realise that this is being done at the request of the United States Government rather than at our request or that of any other Government concerned.

It is really not asking very much to say, "Do it by all means. You have had your negotiations. You have made your bargain. Ratify it and implement it by legislation. Do not go back on it in any way, but make certain that a thing having been reciprocally agreed is reciprocally implemented." There could be no real reason against that, unless the right hon. and learned Gentleman's practical difficulty had turned out to be a real one, and he concedes that it is not a real one at all.

There is one other point which I think is important. We want to see how far this Bill goes. We are going to implement it without being sure of simultaneous reciprocity. In the Committee stage reference was made, and I think I made it myself, to a court-martial which was then proceeding of an American military driver of an American lorry which had collided with a British car in a country road and had killed the driver of it and two children. That man was prosecuted before a United States service court on a charge of manslaughter. He was acquitted I have no quarrel with that, because from my limited experience, on the evidence of the newspapers, I think he would have been acquitted of manslaughter in any court.

But the evidence disclosed other things. It disclosed that he was driving a lorry on a British road which ought not to have been driven on our roads under our law because it was too big and too wide. That would have been an offence against our law. It is not an offence against United States law. It was also disclosed in the evidence that he drove it at a speed which would have been an offence against our law if the vehicle had been permissible on the roads at all, which under our law it was not. It was also disclosed that the man had had no instruction whatever in our Highway Code. It also disclosed that the vehicle was not manoeuvreable at all except at a speed which was an offence against our law and which made it a danger to other vehicles upon the road.

Though he was rightfully acquitted, as I think, of any suggestion of culpable homicide, there is no doubt that the evidence disclosed a series of offences, and the old law and this Measure, too, protect him against any penalty for it because he cannot be charged in our courts and the things complained of are no offence in his own courts. [Interruption] I know that there is a doubt about that under the new law because there is a Clause which says that he is answerable in our courts unless there is a certificate to the effect that he should be answerable in his own.

Mr. Paget

For offences against our law which are not offences against the law of the visiting army, our courts have exclusive jurisdiction.

Mr. Silverman

That is perfectly true, and it is not the case under the 1942 Act. This is one of the respects in which the right hon. and learned Gentleman is perfectly right in saying that the new Bill will give us advantages that we did not have under the old law. I think that it was quite right, since the case had been referred to in the Committee stage, to refer to it here so as to show what the position in fact is, and to show how important it is that we should have this principle of reciprocity.

I am sure the right hon. and learned Gentleman will consider the points that have been put forward, and as it is quite plain that his resistance to the Amendment was based on a misapprehension which has now been removed, perhaps he will reconsider the matter and see whether he can give us satisfaction.

Mr. Paget

If I shared the right hon. and learned Gentleman's hope that we should eventually get reciprocity here, I would certainly agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) that it would be better for a few months to put up with a worse situation in order that when this permanent post-war arrangement comes into operation the general rule of reciprocity shall be applicable to the United States as well as to any other nation and shall be maintained. But I am afraid that I do not share the right hon. and learned Gentleman's hope that reciprocity will be or can be obtained with regard to America.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that ratification was proceeding in America and that the effect of ratification would be to make the treaty part of the law of America. In a sense, and in the same sense, that would be true in England. If we ratify a treaty, in a sense that becomes part of our law; that treaty is binding upon our Government. It is binding in a purely moral sense; that is to say, no sanction can exist to enforce it, nor is there any court, save by express agreement in the treaty, with power to declare a default or to award damages.

But a treaty ratified either here or in America—and we have the same common law in both countries with regard to this matter—is not binding upon any individual citizen. No individual Englishman can be charged with an offence because he has done an action which is contrary to a treaty entered into—and rightly so—by Her Majesty's Government. There is no such offence known throughout the law.

4.45 p.m.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Of course, I accept what the hon. and learned Gentleman says about the law here, on which he is an authority, but I do not accept that it is the same in the United States. That is a specific point on which I say there is a difference.

Mr. Paget

The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that the law here is different from the law of the United States in this matter. This is highly important, and since neither he nor I are authorities on American law, I feel that the highest authority should be obtained upon this subject, because my information is that the law here is the same as it is in America, that the ratification of a treaty by the American Government does not create any offence on the part of an individual and that no American citizen can be charged with an offence which is based merely upon its being an act contrary to a treaty entered into by the United States. If the right hon. Gentleman will look at the Constitution of the United States, I do not see how he could find it otherwise.

Let us consider what the position here is. We enter into a treaty. That treaty we ratify. It is binding on our Government, and if our citizens do not abide by it then our Government must give satisfaction to the other Government with whom we have entered into the treaty. That is the position here. With regard to some treaties there is provision as to the method by which they shall be made binding. For instance the Hague Conventions are treaties which would not ordinarily be binding upon any individual, but they provide specifically by their terms that the countries shall issue orders to their troops to conform to the conventions. It is the order which is binding on the troops.

Equally here there is no provision in the treaty, but the way by which we bring it into operation is this Bill which is brought before us. Let us see what the Bill provides. It provides that alien courts may function upon our territory. It provides that people may be imprisoned upon our territory by the sentence of those alien courts, and it provides further that our own courts shall be deprived of their jurisdiction. In order to do all those things—for a treaty itself would have done none of them—we have to introduce this Bill.

Let us see what would happen if the Americans did any of those things. I do not imagine that it can be suggested by the right hon. and learned Gentleman's advisers that by making a treaty a law can be made in America which, if it were made in the ordinary way by Congress, would be contrary to the Constitution; or, to put it in a slightly different way, that the Constitution provides that its provisions may be abrogated by the treaty-making Power but not by the legislative power. I have examined the American Constitution and discussed it with some care since the Committee stage, and the American Constitution makes no such provision at all.

Let us see what it does provide. First, as to the setting up of alien courts to try criminal offences committed in United States, the first difficulty is that Article X provides that: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively.… Criminal jurisdiction is one of those powers which are reserved to the States. In those circumstances how can it possibly be said that by a Federal Act the State courts—and they are the criminal courts—can be deprived of their jurisdiction? The law in America is in a state of suspense and, whether it be in connection with a treaty or any other law, it is in that state until its validity has been decided by the Supreme Court. One has to wait and see what the Supreme Court says as to the constitutionality of any Federal Act which deprives a State court of jurisdiction.

I shall not refer to Article V because my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) has already referred to it; but Article VI which is highly relevant, provides that: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.… According to this treaty, the accused is not to be tried by jury; he is to be tried by court-martial, although he has committed a crime in the State. How could a provision such as we are now passing implement that agreement?

There are a number of other provisions of the Constitution which seem to be in entire conflict with any law similar to that which we are now being asked to pass. It would seem that legislation introduced in America would either be legislation quite different from that which we are passing today—which would be a good reason for waiting to see what legislation is passed before we pass our legislation—or would be legislation which, even if it got on to the Statute Book, would be in the gravest danger of demise—I should have thought it would be certain—when it reached the Supreme Court.

These are the difficulties which we have to consider with regard to ratification; but in spite of these difficulties I still think that we need this Bill. Since I have sat on this side of the House I have always made it a rule never to say, on a matter of foreign affairs, anything which I would not say in Government, or to advocate or vote otherwise than I would feel I would have to if I were the Government. In our dealings with the United States, we are in a very peculiar position. One has to remember that the Founding Fathers deliberately designed the American Constitution to prevent America from having a foreign policy. The whole idea was to prevent entanglement, and the Constitution was so designed that nobody is ever in a position to speak for, or to know whether he is speaking for, the United States, and we are seldom in a position to expect from the United States the type of implementation on matters of foreign policy which we should expect from anybody else.

It is a remarkable thing that with this Constitution the Americans are capable of conducting a foreign policy at all. Although they are practically never in a position to provide the implementation which we should expect from anybody else, they seem to deliver the goods. Let us take any treaty which in certain circumstances requires the Americans to go to war on our side. Under the American Constitution it is not the Government who can declare war; it is Congress, so that the Government of America is never in a position to implement its treaties or foreign obligations in the same way as anybody else. But one can only say that when the Americans have come to an agreement with us, by one way or another they have in fact delivered the goods. I think that we can trust them to continue to do so.

I do not believe for one moment that they can introduce legislation which is anything like that which we are introducing today. On the other hand, by executive acts, by good will and, it may be, by holding courts-martial in ships if necessary, a workable arrangement may be come to. It is essential that we should recognise the American difficulties; but we should do so with our eyes open, realising that we can never have reciprocity in the ordinary sense and trusting, as we have had to do in the past, that we shall in fact get reciprocity in practice.

Mr. S. Silverman

I am not quite clear about the latter part of the hon. and learned Member's speech. Do I take it that he still thinks that we should have reciprocity in this matter? Is he still in favour of the Amendment?

Mr. Paget

I thought that I had indicated my point of view fairly clearly. If I thought that reciprocity were possible, I certainly do not think that we should have this Bill until that reciprocity was available. I do not think that reciprocity is possible and therefore, looking at this matter in that light—and I think that the acceptance that reciprocity will not come is the only proper ground for rejecting this Amendment—I think we should have this Bill.

Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)

I cannot agree with the conclusions of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget). A vital matter of principle is involved in this Amendment and I hope to show the reasons why I think it should be carried. It is not good enough for my hon. and learned Friend to say that we can trust America. I do not doubt that we can trust America, but that is not the principle which is involved here. I dare-say that the Egyptians thought they could trust Great Britain; but I do not want this country to find itself, with regard to American forces over here, in a position similar to that of Egypt with regard to our forces there.

In Egypt we had the capitulary system, under which British citizens had their own courts and jurisdiction. It may have suited the conditions obtaining there for a time, but there was no reciprocity about it. One could have said that there were not any Egyptian forces here and, therefore, it did not matter, just as it has been said in this case that there may not be any British troops in America and that, therefore, the question of reciprocity does not matter.

5.0 p.m.

I think it does matter, because it is a question of principle; and I think we should get it quite clearly established that, although we welcome the fact that, probably for a long time to come, peace being preserved, there will be American forces in this country, we want them to be here on a basis of equality and reciprocity, on precisely the same basis as that on which British troops would be established in the United States. We do not want to find ourselves in the position of being an occupied country in which foreign forces are immune from the jurisdiction of our courts.

Precisely the same situation occurred in France. They have had some experience of it. I was in France recently, and it is almost common expression there that today, in the parts of France which are now occupied by American troops, the position is not very different from that which existed when the same parts were occupied by German troops. That is not a situation which any self-respecting country can tolerate. It would be particularly humiliating for us and there is no necessity for it. The only basis on which Parliament should be asked to pass the Bill is on the basis of complete equality, on the basis that we have an equal status as allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation with all our other allies and are in no way in an inferior position.

I am sure that the Home Secretary accepts that. He accepts the principle of reciprocity, because our national prestige is at stake. He has given no reason today, and certainly he did not give one in the Committee stage, why this principle of reciprocity with America should not be written into the Bill so that it is there established for all time, just as it will be, pursuant to his undertaking, in connection with all other N.A.T.O. countries.

The Home Secretary's arguments were completely exploded by my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), and it is now quite obvious that his only case for seeking the withdrawal of this Amendment is a practical point on which I found him far from convincing. This was the Home Secretary's analysis of the situation: he said, "Let us consider the possibilities which were open to Her Majesty's Government. First of all, there could not be an interregnum." We all agree that there should not be an interregnum, but it is clear that under the various options to the Government, enabling them to bring different particulars of the Bill into operation at different times, in certain circumstances there need not be an interregnum.

He continued, "Granted that there should not be an interregnum, there were two possible alternatives: we could either apply the new Bill before American ratification or we could apply it conditionally upon American ratification." But they are not the only two alternatives. Another alternative is that we should apply the Bill only upon American legislation giving effect to American ratification, and that is what I should prefer.

Let us accept the view that American ratification would be followed by American legislation because we think we can rely upon the Americans to introduce the necessary legislation. Let us assume that, although it is not an assumption which I am prepared to make, and it is obvious from what was said by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton that he is not prepared to make it, either. He thinks it is very unlikely; he thinks that the United States constitution is so complex—necessarily complex—that the necessary legislation can never be introduced. He is not worried about that. We are agreed, apparently, that it is very unlikely that legislation will be introduced.

But, even so, if we reduce the matter to the single issue—whether we should apply the Bill to America before American ratification or without American ratification—then, on that single issue—and this Amendment narrows the issue between us—I should have thought that if we want American ratification, it would be better not to apply the Bill until we get it.

Let me pursue that point. The Home Secretary refers to the Act of 1942, and his argument is that this will supplant the Act of 1942. But that is not the way in which we ought to approach it. We are not obliged to have the Act of 1942; there is no international agreement with the United States which requires that the Act of 1942 should still be on the Statute Book. We are a free Parliament and if we wanted to do so we would repeal that Act. That is within our rights. America is, therefore, entirely dependent upon our good will as to whether that Act remains in force or whether we have a Bill bringing into effect the recent agreement.

I am anxious that eventually we should have a Bill giving effect to the recent agreement, but I am anxious that we should have it on the basis of reciprocity. Are we more likely to get American reciprocity if we apply the Bill to America now or are we more likely to get it if we do not apply the Bill to America until we have that American reciprocity? That is the issue.

Suppose we applied the Bill unilaterally now, then, despite all the Home Secretary's professions of optimism about what some future Congress of the United States, not yet elected, might do—and that is a pure guess—there is no real promise from what has been said that, unless there is some measure of compulsion behind it, we shall get the measure of American reciprocity which, in my view, and in the view of my hon. Friends, it is essential that we should place on the Statute Book in order to preserve our national prestige.

Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham, West)

It has been said several times in our discussion that the Bill makes a complete innovation in our legal and consitutional procedure. I see that the Home Secretary shakes his head, and I think he has in mind the United States of America (Visiting Forces) Act of 1942. I should have said that the Bill will put permanently into our law something which we have never before recognised as a permanent feature—that is to say, foreign military courts exercising jurisdiction, in some cases to the exclusion of the jurisdiction of our own courts.

We ought to be aware that the Bill is doing that. I have never regarded it as a valid argument against the Bill, but what I think it means is this: that a Bill like this is one of the many signs which we have today that we are entering into quite a new area in the relations between sovereign States. In my judgment, and in the judgment of any one who hopes to see the absolute sovereignty of sovereign States diminished for the common welfare of mankind, I think it is an advancement, but it can be an advancement only if the modifications of national sovereignty which are applied in a Bill of this kind apply equally to nations all round. That, I think, is why we have laboured the question of reciprocity.

We are doing something in the Bill which is far more important than the numbers of us present would give any one to suppose. We are altering the whole nature of relations between sovereign States, and future historians will notice legislation of this kind as the beginning of a totally new era in legal and political relations. It has been remarked that in a sense we might be regarded as going back to the position of mediaeval days, in which, when a man travelled, he carried with him certain legal rights and did not always come under the courts of the area in which he was travelling. It may be that for certain purposes it is desirable to pick up again what was a mediaeval practice, but—I say again—a change of this magnitude can be satisfactory only if it is reciprocal.

I would emphasise that, no matter how great the change may be for some of the nations concerned, it appeared at one time, particularly from the arguments of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing), that it would be impossible for the United States of America to grant reciprocity in this matter without an actual alteration in their constitution. It now appears, from what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has said, that, so far from its being impossible, the thing has already been done once.

I confess that I find difficulty in assenting to a proposition that something is impossible if it has already been done. But I am bound to say that I have the profoundest respect for the abilities of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch, and we may all still see cause to modify that opinion before he has finished, if he should catch your eye, Sir.

Mr. Ede

Remember MacManaway.

Mr. Stewart

I do indeed remember MacManaway, as my right hon. Friend advises me to. Consequently, like the layman in that famous quarrel between lawyers in the Temple Garden, I shall stand aloof and not pluck a rose on either side in this quarrel until the truth is a little more plain.

But I would say this. If my hon. and learned Friend here is right and it would be a formidable constitutional and legal task for the United States to grant us reciprocity, I still say, with the very great respect that citizens of one country should always have when saying anything about the legal and political processes of another, I think they would be well advised to undertake that task because of the enormous importance of getting this new relation between sovereign States well established and cordially accepted on all hands.

But if the right hon. and learned Gentleman is right, and the thing can be done again with whatever ease it was done in the past, then there is surely nothing unreasonable in our urging that reciprocity should be a prior condition in the Bill. If we cannot be represented as being unreasonable, if we are merely saying we do not want this to be brought into force until similar legislation has been introduced in the United States, and we can say that with more confidence because we know from past experience that they have introduced legislation of that kind before, and we are not asking them to do anything impossible, then it seems to me that the case for pressing this Amendment is actually strengthened.

I think we ought also to notice this. It is necessarily the case, in view of the great population and military power and standing of the United States of America in the Atlantic alliance, that they are more likely in fact to be claiming this kind of immunity for their troops than is any other State. Consequently, if that immunity for American soldiers—or partial immunity—is to be acceded to by other parties in the Atlantic alliance it is, I think, particularly desirable that the United States should almost go out of their way to show that they are anxious to grant reciprocity in this matter.

If we can be sure of reciprocity it will be so much harder for those who wish the Atlantic alliance ill to represent it as something whereby the United States have completely ignored the law and constitution of the States with which they are in alliance.

5.15 p.m.

There is, I think, one possibility that may make this Amendment, perhaps, a little less necessary. If I understand the working of the Bill correctly, it will not, in fact, apply to any State, except the members of the Commonwealth mentioned in the Bill, until an Order in Council has been introduced; and such an Order in Council can be made subject to limitations. I wonder whether the Government have considered that, when such Orders in Council are brought in, to begin with they should be subject to a limit of time, so that, without having to take the perhaps undesirable step of revoking the Order later, we should be able to look at the question again, after an efflux of time, to see how far we had got in regard to reciprocity. I do not regard that as an improvement on this Amendment. I say no more than that if we thought this procedure would be adopted the urgent necessity of this Amendment would not appear to be quite so great as it does appear at the present time.

I should like to make what I have in mind clear. Suppose the position is that an Order in Council is being introduced to apply it to the United States of America, and that, at that moment, we really do not know quite what reciprocal steps the United States propose to take. In such a situation I think it would be desirable for any Order to have a definite time limit, so that, at the elapse of that time limit, we should be able to look at the thing again and ask once again the question, What reciprocal steps have been taken?

I rather hope that the Government will give some indication of what ideas they have about the form which Orders in Council under this Bill ought to take, but, even so, I think we are still left with the position that, on the Home Secretary's own argument, we ought to have an amendment like this Amendment in the Bill. The easier and the simpler it is under the processes of American law for reciprocity to be granted the more reasonable it is for it to be stated in the Bill that reciprocity should actually occur, and that is why I still feel that it would be helpful if the right hon. and learned Gentleman could see his way to accept the Amendment.

Mr. Geoffrey Bing (Hornchurch)

The right hon. and learned Gentleman quoted the Act No. 384 of 1944 of the United States Congress as one which showed that it was possible for the United States to produce reciprocal legislation. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman had read the Act in question he would have showed it proved just the contrary. The nature of the Bill now before us, and the nature of the previous Act, is to oust the jurisdiction of the British courts. The Americans were very careful to do no such thing by that American Act. It was to make it possible for British deserters and people of that sort to be arrested and tried under certain conditions when courts-martial were held under particular conditions in the United States.

Let me just remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman of what that Act says, and read to him the operative Section, which is Section 2: Upon a specific or general request of the officer commanding any friendly foreign force, having service courts of an appropriate jurisdiction within the United States, it shall be lawful for any person in the civil, military, or naval establishments of the United States having authority to arrest, summarily to arrest any member of such force designated in such request— in other words, an American policeman can arrest a British sailor— —and to deliver him to the custody of any officer of such force or to the custody of the military or naval authorities of the United States who shall deliver him forthwith to the custody of an officer of such force, for trial in such service courts within the United States for such offenses as shall lie within the jurisdiction of the service courts of such friendly foreign force. Then follows an interesting proviso. The right hon. and learned Gentleman looks at me as much as to say, "It is not so." But there is not one word to oust the jurisdiction of the American courts, not one word to say they have repealed jurisdiction in any way the same as we in the much stronger type of legislation have. This does not approach that at all. And then there is a most interesting proviso, because even with the courts-martial already, under these conditions, there is this proviso: Provided, That the trial of any member of such friendly foreign force for an offense against a member of the civilian population shall be in open court (except where security consideration forbids), shall take place promptly in the United States and within a reasonable distance from the place where the offense is alleged to have been committed, for the convenience of witnesses. The rest of the Act is machinery, and those are all the provisions.

Well, that is not reciprocal legislation as compared with the legislation we had here. It is in no way reciprocal with the provisions by which the American soldier here was taken completely outside the English law, so that it was impossible to sue him if he ran down someone with his motor car it was impossible to have an inquest. All those things are left out.

Why are they left out? The right hon. and learned Gentleman is quite right to say that the proclamation says that they are attempting to have reciprocal legislation. The reason is that it would be impossible constitutionally, as I was arguing earlier with the right hon. and learned Gentleman, to introduce legislation which ousted the jurisdiction of the United States courts. In any event, these matters took place during the war-time, and since the war-time, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman will know if he has pursued his researches into this, the Supreme Court of the United States has considered, and considered again, the extent to which military jurisdiction may be exercised by court-martial.

One of the most interesting cases arose, and was decided by the Supreme Court at the end of 1945 and beginning of 1946, out of the situation in Hawaii. After the attack on Pearl Harbour the whole of Hawaii was placed under military law, and a rule was made—which seems to me in some ways a sensible one—that anybody who assaulted a military policemen could be tried for that offence by court-martial.

It so happened that some one whom we describe as associated personnel, related personnel, people who were attached to the forces, a civilian artificer working in the naval dockyard, by name of Duncan, for some reason had a quarrel with a military policeman, hit him a number of times and deprived him of his weapons, and for this offence was tried by a military court and convicted. The matter went before the United States Supreme Court, and it provided an opportunity for the reviewing by the United States Supreme Court of the whole question of how far military jurisdiction could be exercised in the United States.

I will not burden the right hon. and learned Gentleman by reading what was said by the judges of the Supreme Court, but I will refer him to the very interesting article on the whole matter in the Harvard Law Review by Professor Fair-man of Stanford University. I will just read the dissenting judgment of the court below which afterwards became, as it were, the whole basis of the point of view taken by the Supreme Court. Professor Fairman, summarising it says: The dissent covers a good deal of ground, but its central position is expressed by the following propositions. That the writ had been suspended by the executive in pursuance of a congressional enactment"— the writ, of course, is the writ of habeas corpus. and that the suspension had not been revoked was not conclusive of the question: '… the suspension cannot be legal unless there is as a fact imminent danger and … because of imminent danger the public safety requires the suspension of the writ.' Evidently, as he saw it, this was a political question but one for judicial determination. On the fundamental problem of the validity of the trials by provost court, he concluded that on the facts found in the court below there was 'no colour of authority for the military to arrest a civilian, try and convict him, and send him to jail by order of a provost court, and that without the right of a jury'. Now, British troops in the United States are, so far as United States law is concerned, all civilians. So far as the United States look at this, they are entitled to the same right as civilians, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman is now telling the House that in face of the decisions taken by the United States Supreme Court he is absolutely sure that the United States can enact legislation which would seem on any construction to fly absolutely in the face of those decisions—decisions which said that even an associated person like a civilian artificer working in a naval dockyard cannot be tried by a military court in war-time in a war area such as Hawaii was in those days.

If that was the position there, how can the United States enact permanent legislation—because that is what we are enacting here, permanent legislation—giving powers of military law to be exercised, not by an American court, not by a court set up under the American constitution, under the powers to govern the Army which are contained in the American constitution, but in some other way altogether? That does not seem to me to be very practical.

When the right hon. and learned Gentleman tries to buttress it by producing an Act which he says is reciprocal, does he suggest that the Act the United States will pass will be stronger than the one they passed in the war? Is that his case, that they are to pass a more drastic Act, one that gives us more powers to try people than was given to our troops during war-time in the United States? Unless he says that, the legislation envisaged is not reciprocal at all.

The whole essence and the whole complaint of this Bill is that it sets up what has not yet existed outside countries of a very low civilisation, or at any rate in a very weak position, namely, a kind of extra-territorial situation in which offences cannot be tried by the people of the country, but in which they are responsible to somebody else, and in which the jurisdiction of the Home courts is completely ousted. That is the principle of it. The Act of 1944 in the United States did nothing of the sort. It never diminished one whit the power of the United States courts to try any single British soldier it liked in any place it liked.

There are two sets of rights, in a sense, which a citizen of a country possesses. The first is, of course, the right when he himself is tried to make certain that he is tried before his own type of court. But the citizen of a country also has the right to go to the courts of his own country for redress. If he suffers some injury he is entitled to prosecute.

It happens every day in our courts. The magistrates' courts are filled with people—generally on cross-summonses—summoning people for assault. That is the exercise of a right. But what happens if an assault takes place now and an American soldier is one part of it? There is no right to prosecute in an English court at all. All that can be done is to invite the American authorities to embark on a court-martial.

Now, when we come to deal with reciprocal legislation, what we are asking the right hon. and learned Gentleman is: Has he received any intimation from the United States that that Government are prepared on behalf of their citizens to give up their right to go into the courts and prosecute somebody who they say has assaulted them? That is the essence of it. But, of course, that was not given up under the 1944 Act. All that happened under the 1944 Act was that the American military police could arrest a British person and bring him before a British court to be charged with an offence in that court but that did not prevent him being tried elsewhere. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman will know, unlike in this country, in the United States a conviction by a court-martial is no bar to civil procedings, is no bar to being tried for the same offence under a civil court if also it is a civil offence, so that there was a complete remedy left to the citizen of the United States.

What is the position? The right hon. and learned Gentleman has had more time to look at it. He has had time to look at the Act. Surely he sees this essential difference between the Act of 1944 and the present Bill, that in one case there is an ouster of the jurisdiction of the court—that is the thing we complain of here—and that in the other case there is not? Or does he say that there is?

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)

I have not taken part in any of the complicated discussion on this Bill because I thought that it was largely a matter for the legal experts on either side. But this question is going to be far more widely discussed than we realise at the present time. We now have American forces in all parts of the country. This morning, when I came on a plane from Prestwick, I was among members of the American Forces. When the plane landed at Burtonwood, Manchester, American forces were there, too. The whole question of offences in which American soldiers are likely to be involved may be a burning one in many parts of the country.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham, East (Mr. M. Stewart) has pointed out, it is conceivable that this may lead to embittered feelings between the population of this country and the American soldiers, if it is thought that the American soldiers are given more freedom than the local people. It is not difficult to see what is likely to happen, and what has, I believe, happened in different parts of the country. On a Friday or Saturday night American soldiers may go to a dance hall, or to a public house, and become embroiled with local civilians. That has frequently happened with visiting soldiers. If, as a result, the local man is sentenced to, say, three months' imprisonment, and the American soldier is arrested and tried secretly by court-martial, so that no one really knows what has happened to him——

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I do not want the hon. Gentleman to be under any misapprehension. In that state of affairs, the soldier can, of course, be tried by a British court; there is no question about that. The hon. Gentleman is putting the case of an American in a dance hall becoming involved with a British subject. There is no question of his being on duty or of this being a matter concerning only American personnel, and therefore he can be tried in a British court. I would not have interrupted, but I did not want that sort of suggestion to go out, because that will not happen.

Mr. Hughes

I am very glad that the Home Secretary has relieved my apprehension. Owing to the legal technicalities, I was under the impression that might happen. I am indebted to the Home Secretary, and I apologise to him if I have indavertently made a mistake. At least, I have given him the opportunity of denying what is a common misapprehension in places where there are American soldiers.

There is another point. This is a visiting forces Bill and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham, East has pointed out, it is not merely confined to American soldiers. The whole position has changed since 1942, and we may conceivably have German soldiers stationed in this country. Sometime ago I asked the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War about a statement that was made that German soldiers were likely to trained in this country.

I received a reply that this had certainly been contemplated, but that they would be soldiers brought here to learn some of the more technical developments of modern warfare; so I think that we are safe in saying that in 12 months' time we may have German soldiers stationed in this country. Some of them may be highly technical experts, and we may have some of those military experts who have been making orations during the last week-end. I submit that it is not beyond the bounds of probability that we shall have German soldiers in this country who are here presumably to learn new tank methods of warefare, rocket firing, or something of that kind.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I do not know if the hon. Gentleman appreciates that what we are discussing at the moment is reciprocity. I have given an undertaking, and the whole discussion has been on the undertaking I have given, that with regard to every other foreign country, apart from the United States, we shall not apply the provisions of this Bill unless we are satisfied that that country will guarantee to make similar provisions. On the question of reciprocity, the only matter which we have been discussing which is outstanding between us is the question of the United States. I know that the hon. Gentleman would not like to proceed on any mistaken basis, and so I think it is only right to tell him that.

Mr. Hughes

I am again indebted to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but I see quite clearly from the Amendment that the Government of the designated country has to be defined by Order in Council.

Mr. Paget

Germany is not in N.A.T.O.

Mr. Hughes

Apart from the question of whether Germany is in N.A.T.O. or not, I am putting forward a reasonable suggestion that the provisions of this Bill may apply to Germany in 12 months' time.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)

I think that the hon. Member will be wrong if he continues on those lines.

Mr. Hughes

I regard you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, as the chief arbiter in whom I have complete confidence. I want to pursue this question of German soldiers being in this country to see how that applies if this Amendment is not carried. It is conceivable that there may arrive in this country German technical experts with whom the right hon. and learned Gentleman was familiar in another connection.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I think that the Home Secretary has made it clear that this point can only apply to American soldiers because reciprocity arrangements will be made for German soldiers.

Mr. Hughes

The right hon. and learned Gentleman may have cleared up that point, but not to my satisfaction, and that is why I am supporting the Amendment.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I think that so far as the Amendment is concerned, that is the position.

Mr. S. Silverman

Surely, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, it is perfectly in order for any hon. Member of this House to say, "Much as I admire and respect the undertaking given by the Home Secretary, I prefer that it should be in the Bill and, therefore, I would rather we had the Amendment incorporated in the Bill."

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I was not in the House when this point arose before, but I understand that the Home Secretary had given a satisfactory answer with regard to every country except the United States.

Mr. Hughes

I bow to your Ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but as a layman these points are rather obscure to me. I want to put the point about the possibility of complications which may arise if this Amendment is not accepted. We have heard in this debate a great deal about United States forces, and I submit that this Amendment is wide enough to cover the possibility of German forces. Unless we get it incorporated in the Bill, I think that I am entitled to have further explanations so that my doubts may be cleared up. I want to know exactly what reciprocity is to be definitely inserted in the Bill in order that we may be quite clear as to what is our position in regard to German forces.

I can conceive the possibility in which German forces would be quartered in this country, and that some of the German technical experts will come along. Supposing that one of these German experts is an old S.S. commander and that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is going down Whitehall. The German might say, "I remember the right hon. and learned Gentleman he was connected with certain trials. I have met him before," and the result may be a common assault and a breach of the peace. This German officer would not be liable to be tried by the courts of this country, but he might be tried by a German court-martial, and it is conceivable that the German court-martial might acquit him saying, "It is quite all right, this was perfectly justifiable in the circumstances."

Mr. M. Stewart

To pursue my hon. Friend's supposition a little further, if the right hon. and learned Gentleman were at the time coming down Whitehall towards the House of Commons and the German prevented him from getting here, might not proceedings for breach of Privilege lie?

Mr. Hughes

It is apparent that these hypothetical questions and misunderstandings are not confined to my innocent mind. My hon. Friend was formerly the Under-Secretary of State for War and has a very comprehensive knowledge of these questions, but he is in some confusion, and, therefore, as a layman, I feel I am entitled to have this point cleared up. If the Home Secretary may be subject to an attack, either physical or verbal, in our own country by persons whom he formerly accused of being war criminals, there is a strong case for reciprocity and the Amendment should be accepted.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

I am sure that those of us who have listened to the whole of the debate today feel indebted to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for the care with which he has explained the position and the urbanity with which he has since listened to the debate and interrupted when it has appeared likely that by doing so he could further enlighten us.

I have had a fairly long acquaintance with the Bill and the preliminary negotiations, and I have always felt that the point of reciprocity would be a difficult one to explain and justify to the House. I do not view it so much from the point of view of what happens in this country. I am more concerned with what happens to a member of the British Forces who is ordered abroad and finds himself in a foreign country where his knowledge of the civil law will not be very great and where he will not be able to have my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) briefed at five minutes' notice to defend him if he gets into trouble. That point may quite easily be as difficult as anything that happens in this country.

We have also narrowed down the debate to the point that we are concerned only with the United States of America. I should have thought that in all the circumstances mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), unless it was a cross-summons because the right hon. and learned Gentleman assaulted, either first or second, the German who was thought likely to accost him, there was hardly any doubt as to what the situation would be on all the arguments that we have had.

5.45 p.m.

While I was very anxious to find in what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said justification for feeling that we could be certain of reciprocity, I did not think that his argument was quite strong enough when it came to the end. I was further shaken in that belief when the American Act of 1944, which did begin to give me a bit of assurance, was quoted by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Homchurch. As I reminded the House in an interruption I made during the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham, East (Mr. M. Stewart), I have very lively recollections of the way in which my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch, although regarded as a rank outsider in the legal race for the MacManaway Stakes, managed in the end to land the odds in a manner which was most convincing to all concerned.

Is it not possible to make the arrangement conditional upon reciprocity? My hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) disposed of one of the points which had been raised by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, that there was likely to be an interregnum which would be difficult. It may very well be that we shall have in the United States and other countries, for purposes connected with mutual defence, members of regiments which are actually older than the United States itself, men of regiments which have a very great history and who are proud of that history, and even some regiments which may have been in America when the United States was forming itself. Those of us who have read the book "Sergeant Lamb," which gives an account of a soldier's life in America while the United States was being formed, will have some idea of the kind of feelings which may be aroused in the breasts of men who have received the ordinary instruction which is now given to the British soldier in the history, exploits and fame of his regiment.

I want to make one matter clear. I also heard the remark made by the Prime Minister when we were last discussing this matter. He said in a voice which could, unfortunately, be heard on this side of the House as well as on his own side, in what was meant to be a whispered aside to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, "I suppose they are anti-American again. "I want to make it quite clear that we on this side of the House are not anti-American. Certainly I am not anti-American in any way. I have a great many friends among persons of liberal thought in America, and I resent very much the idea that if one is pro-British—at least, I have a right to be that—one is of necessity anti-American.

That is not the ground on which this matter is being pressed. I am certain that the best way to maintain good relations between any men or women in our Forces who are in the United States at any given time would be to give them the feeling that they are being treated in exactly the same way under the American constitution and laws as United States citizens are being treated in this country under our constitution and laws. That seems to me the simple point which at the moment separates the two sides of the House.

I do not know whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman can prove to us that the 1944 Act went beyond what my hon. and learned Friend said. If it was merely the power to arrest a member of an alien force in the United States and hand him over to the tribunal, it did not go as far as we are going in this Bill. I assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that the issue between us is a narrow one. We accept his view that it is con-fiend to our relationships with the United States Forces. What we are anxious about is that the right hon. and learned Gentleman shall be able to say that he can assure us that these rights and privileges will not be granted to the United States—or, for that matter, any other nation; he himself narrowed it to the United States—until we can be assured that at the time they become operative here similar rights will be secured for men and women of our Forces in the United States.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

In answer to what the right hon. Gentleman has said, may I, with the leave of the House, say a few words? As he stated, we have narrowed down this question to the United States, and I have given an undertaking which covers all other foreign countries. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) has given his view about Public Law 384. I treated it with great respect. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) was good enough to remind me—and I take it with a smile—that I was wrong and the hon. and learned Gentleman was right on the question to which he referred.

Apart from that, I am always prepared to consider any point, and I told the House on the last occasion that I would do what the House wanted me to do, and that is inform myself not only as to the position but as to the view that was taken by those who advise Her Majesty's Government on matters of American law.

I have reported to the House the advice that was given to me. I happen to be possessed of a book which summarises the matter, and there I have confirmed pro tanto that the view of which I have been informed is correct. In this book it is stated: Public Law 384, brought into force as regards United Kingdom armed forces by Presidential Proclamation 2626 of October 11th, 1944"— to which I have referred— assumes the existence of this exclusive jurisdiction under international law and implements it. That this is the legislative intent"— and this is the point I thought would interest the House— is clear from the Debate in the Senate reported in Congressional Record for June 22, 1944. I myself have no doubt, and I give my opinion, realising the limits of my own legal knowledge of which the House has been reminded, that it is possible and constitutionally within the powers of the United States Congress to pass the necessary legislation. That is the advice I have received from those whose advice I was asked to seek.

The other question was the point which was emphasised by the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) as to the possibility of the repeal of the 1942 Act. I think that would be an unrealistic method. So we are really left with two possibilities—and it is this narrow point that we come down to—either to continue with the Act of 1942 or to pass this Bill remembering that the signature is on the agreement and that the agreement has gone to Congress. We are told that legislation is in preparation and I am advised that legislation is intra vires Congress. I think that can be accepted as showing that reciprocity is likely to come, and that we should make the improvements straight away. That is the difference between us.

Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas (Leicester, North-East)

From what the right hon. and learned Gentleman says now, he would be able to certify in accordance with the Amendment, and if what he says now is correct I fail to appreciate why he cannot accept the Amendment.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

To be quite frank, I have not directed my mind to that point, but I have expressed the position as I see it. I should have thought that hon. Members opposite would have accepted the position. I cannot accept the Amendment and, therefore, I hope that, having had a full discussion to all of which I have listened with attention, the House will come to a decision now. I cannot go further. This is the only point in the Bill where I have not gone further, and I must ask hon. Members opposite to consider whether they feel the need to divide—I hope they will not, but if they do I respectfully suggest that the House should come to a decision now.

Mr. Strachey

By leave of the House, I want to say a word or two as to the course which I suggest my hon. Friends might take in this matter. The first thing I want to say is that the Home Secretary has impressed me with the view that reciprocal legislation or action on the part of the United States Government is more likely, and will come about, I believe, quicker than I thought was possible. He has been able to put before the House evidence which suggests that there will be some sort of action by which the United States will do the same for us—to use popular phraseology—as we are doing for them and this at any rate is an advance on what we thought possible.

Of course, I may be credulous. Some of my hon. and learned Friends think I am credulous, but I was interested. I do not pretend to be able to decide on this highly technical legal point, but it seems to me that the Home Secretary has given us impressive reasons, and it seems to me incomprehensible, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) said, why the right hon. and gallant Gentleman cannot accept the Amendment if we are going to get this reciprocity from the United States. I cannot understand why there should be this extraordinary exception.

The Home Secretary has agreed that in the case of every other foreign country we are to have reciprocity and that he will not bring the measure into force until we have that reciprocity. Why, then, cannot the same principle apply to America? I do not think the writing into the Bill of these words would improve it very much, and I should be prepared to ask leave to withdraw this Amendment if we could secure from the right hon. and learned Gentleman an assurance in respect of America similar to that given in respect of every other country. If at this late moment he will assure us on that point, then certainly I am willing to withdraw the Amendment; and I cannot see why he should not do that.

On the other hand, if the Home Secretary cannot give us that assurance, then it seems to me that there must be at the back of his mind a fear that, after all, the Americans cannot or will not reciprocate, in which case I would suggest that this Amendment be pressed to a Division, because it seems to us that for the proper working of N.A.T.O., and the self-respect of this country, we need words of this sort inserted in the Bill.

Lieut.-Colonel Marcus Lipton (Brixton)

The difference between the two sides of the House is so narrow that in my view it would be unreasonably obdurate on the part of the Home Secretary to refuse to make any concession. I feel that he either misconstrued or has not fully appreciated the point put by my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) about the comparative virtues of the 1944 Act and the present Bill. If the difference is as narrow as the Home Secretary makes out, then it would do no harm to incorporate this Amendment in the Bill. If there is a wide gulf there then it is more essential than ever that this Amendment should be written into the Bill.

6.0 p.m.

It is perhaps unfortunate that we should be discussing this Amendment a day or two after the reports appeared in the Press about an unfortunate case in which three British subjects lost their lives in a car accident in which an American car driver was involved. It is of the utmost importance that in the public mind it should clearly appear that there is no unfair distinction or discrimination.

I would again ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman to make the concession for which we ask. It cannot prejudice or interfere in any way with the Bill. I would quote one undertaking that was given by him in the Committee stage. No reference has yet been made to it either by the Home Secretary or by any other hon. Member. He was dealing with a point that had been raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), and he said: As he appreciates, there is power not only to apply the Act but to disapply the Act. A little later on the Home Secretary said: I only point out, as a matter of constitutional law and procedure, which is what we have been discussing tonight, that there are avenues open, and we have kept them open, to deal with the situation should it develop in an unfortunate way."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 22nd October, 1952; Vol. 505, c. 1116.] The interpretation I place upon those words is that if there were some unfortunate delay in the legislative arrangements in the United States of America, it would be within the competence of the Government of this country to disapply the Act, so far as it relates to the United States of America. How much better it would be to use the machinery which we are trying to incorporate in the Bill, rather than, if the worst came to the worst, to use the powers that still reside in the Home Secretary and in the Government for the purpose of disapplying the Act. I therefore, very respectfully and earnestly, ask the Home Secretary to grant this concession, failing which my hon. and right hon. Friends will have no hesitation in going into the Division Lobby to vote for the Amendment.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 139; Noes, 178.

Division No. 244.] AYES [6.5 p.m.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Hayman, F. H. Popplewell, E.
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Porter, G.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Herbison, Miss M. Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)
Bacon, Miss Alice Hobson, C. R. Reeves, J.
Ballour, A. Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth) Reid, Thomas (Swindon)
Bence, C. R. Hoy, J. H. Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Benson, G. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Beswick, F. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Ross, William
Bing, G. H. C. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Royle, C.
Blackburn, F. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Schofield, S. (Barnsley)
Blyton, W. R. Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Bowden, H. W. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Short, E. W.
Bowen, E. R. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Bowles, F. G. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Keenan, W. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Slater, J.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Balper) King, Dr. H. M. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Kinley, J. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Champion, A. J. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Snow, J. W.
Chetwynd, G. R. Lewis, Arthur Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Clunie, J. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Sparks, J. A.
Coldrick, W. MacColl, J. E. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Collick, P. H. McKay, John (Wallsend) Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Cove, W. G. McLeavy, F. Stross, Dr. Barnett
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Malialieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Crosland, C. A. R. Manuel, A. C. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
Deer, G. Mellish, R. J. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Delargy, H. J. Mikardo, Ian Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mitchison, G. R. Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.) Monslow, W. Tomney, F.
Ewart, R. Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Morley, R. Viant, S. P.
Foot, M. M. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Wallace, H. W.
Freeman, John (Watford) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Walkins, T. E.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Moyle, A. Weitzman, D.
Gibson, C. W. Murray, J. D. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Glanville, James Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Orbach, M. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield) Padley, W. E. Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Paget, R. T. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Grey, C. F. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Pargiter, G. A. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Hall, John (Gateshead, W.) Parker, J.
Hamilton, W. W. Paton, J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hannan, W. Pearson, A. Mr. Wilkins and
Hardy, E. A. Peart, T. F. Mr. Kenneth Robinson.
Hargreaves, A. Poole, C. C.
Aitken, W. T. Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Graham, Sir Fergus
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Cole, Norman Gridley, Sir Arnold
Alport, C. J. M. Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)
Arbuthnot, John Crossthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hare, Hon. J. H.
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Crouch, R. F. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Harvie-Watt, Sir George
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Heald, Sir Lionel
Baldwin, A. E. Deedes, W. F. Heath, Edward
Banks, Col. C. Digby, S. Wingfield Hirst, Geoffrey
Barlow, Sir John Dodds-Parker, A. D. Hollis M. C.
Baxter, A. B. Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Hope, Lord John
Beach, Maj. Hicks Doughty, C. J. A. Horobin, I. M.
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Drayson, G. B. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Drewe, G. Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.
Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston) Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas (Richmond) Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)
Birch, Nigel Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.
Black, C. W. Duthie, W. S. Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.
Boothby, R. J. G. Eden, Rt. Hon. A. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Finlay, Graeme Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Boyle, Sir Edward Fisher, Nigel Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N. W.) Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Kaberry, D.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Fletcher-Cooke, C. Keeling, Sir Edward
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)
Bullard, D. G. Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Lambton, Viscount
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok) Langford-Holt, J. A.
Burden, F. F. A. Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.
Butcher, H. W. Garner-Evans, E. H. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Gough, C. F. H. Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)
Clarks, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Gower, H. R. Lindsay, Martin
Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.) Pitman, I. J. Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Powell, J. Enoch Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S. W.) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Studholme, H. G.
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Raikes, H. V. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight) Rayner, Brig. R. Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
McKibbin, A. J. Redmayne, M. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Remnant, Hon. P. Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Maclean, Fitzroy Renton, D. L. M. Touche, Sir Gordon
Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Roberts, Peter (Heeley) Turner, H. F. L.
Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Robertson, Sir David Turton, R. H.
Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.) Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Markham, Major S. F. Roper, Sir Harold Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Marlowe, A. A. H. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)
Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton) Russell, R. S. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale) Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Medlicott, Brig. F. Scott, R. Donald Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Mellor, Sir John Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Shepherd, William Watkinson, H. A.
Nabarro, G. D. N. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.) Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Wellwood, W.
Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P. Smithers, Peter (Winchester) White, Baker (Canterbury)
Nugent, G. R. H. Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington) Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Nutting, Anthony Snadden, W. McN. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Spearman, A. C. M. Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Speir, R. M. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Partridge, E. Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.) Wills, G.
Peake, Rt. Hon. O. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Peto, Brig C. H. M. Stevens, G. P.
Peyton, J. W. W. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Vosper and Mr. Oakshott.

Question put, and agreed to.