§ 34. Mr. Dugdale
asked the Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations 1476 whether he has completed his inquiries into the arrest of United Kingdom citizens and British protected persons in South Africa; and whether he is satisfied with the arrangements which exist for obtaining information from the South African Government.
§ The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. C. J. M. Alport)
As I informed the House on 5th April, the South African Prime Minister has assured the United Kingdom High Commissioner that as soon as any person arrested as a result of the emergency has been identified, to the satisfaction of the Union Government, as being not a South African citizen but a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, or a British protected person, the High Commissioner, or his representative, may have access to him.
This arrangement appears to be operating satisfactorily, allowing for the time taken in establishing the citizenship status of persons affected.
Inquiries are still proceeding to establish the citizenship of an African under detention named Mpho who claims to belong to the Bechuanaland Protectorate.
§ 43. Mr. K. Robinson
asked the Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will request the United Kingdom High Commissioner to seek the permission of the Government of the Union of South Africa for the inspection by the International Red Cross of prisons and detention camps in which British subjects and British protected persons are detained.
§ Mr. R. Thompson
No, Sir. As my hon. Friend informed the House on 5th May in reply to the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) so far as is known, only two citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies are at present detained in the Union of South Africa under the Emergency Regulations, and the High Commissioner has reported that neither has any complaints about conditions of detention.
§ Mr. Robinson
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that information has been reaching this country that conditions in many of the South African gaols are disgustingly primitive? Is he further aware that there was a very serious 1477 typhoid epidemic in the Fort Prison in Johannesburg a year ago when it was substantially less overcrowded than it is today? In view of the fact that the International Red Cross inspected detention camps in Kenya, will he not do what the Question asks?
§ Mr. Thompson
It is perfectly true that the international committee has, with the agreement of the Colonial Office, and also with the agreement of the British Red Cross, inspected detention camps in Cyprus and Kenya, but it has no right to investigate conditions in any country, and can do so only with the agreement of the Government concerned.