HC Deb 13 July 1955 vol 543 cc1918-9
25. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that Mr. Cedric Belfrage has since 13th May been held in West Street Federal Prison, New York City, New York, by the United States Immigration Department, pending the hearing of his appeal against deportation for being allegedly a member of or affiliated to the Communist Party in 1937–38; and whether, in view of the fact that Mr. Belfrage has never been sentenced by any court nor even charged with violating any law, he will make representations to the United States authorities to release Mr. Belfrage pending the hearing of his appeal against deportation.

Lord John Hope

A deportation order was issued against Mr. Belfrage on 12th May under Section 241A6 of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act, which provides for the deportation of an alien who is, or at any time after entry has been, a member of or affiliated with the American Communist Party. United States law authorises the detention of an alien declared deportable, and there is no obligation to grant bail. Mr. Belfrage's detention is thus in accordance with United States law.

With regard to the appeal, this was dismissed yesterday. It is now open to Mr. Belfrage to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Zilliacus

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that Mr. Belfrage has denied on oath that he is a Communist, and is it not improper to keep a man in prison indefinitely without sentence or charge and to refuse him bail? Will not the Government show the same zeal in this case as they have, very properly, and with the support of all of us, shown in the case of Iron Curtain prisoners?

Lord John Hope

As I said, nothing has been done against the law. As for continued detention without bail, the Americans know that we do not like an undue delay in those circumstances. I have no doubt that they will take notice of what the hon. Gentleman and others have said in that connection.