§ 2.—(1) Subsection (1) of section one of the principal Act shall be amended by the addition at the end thereof of the following paragraphs:—
- (l) for determining what nationality is to be ascribed to aliens in doubtful circumstances, and for disregarding, in the case of any person against whom a deportation order or expulsion order has been made, any subsequent change of nationality; and
- (m) for prolonging, for a period not exceeding six months after the termination of any war in which His Majesty is engaged, the internment of any persons who during the war have been interned as alien enemies.
§ (2) His Majesty may also by Order in Council under the principal Act make regulations requiring information to be given as to the property, liabilities, and interests of the subjects of any state which has been at war with His Majesty at any time during the year nineteen hundred and eighteen, and for preventing (without notice or authority) the transfer of or other dealings with the property of such subjects.
LORD PARMOOR moved, in subsection (1), to leave out paragraph (m). The noble and learned Lord said: When this Bill was before your Lordships on Second Reading I asked, in reference to this paragraph,
whether there was any present purpose which it served, and the noble Earl in charge of the Bill said there were no persons interned at the present time as regards the existing war, and therefore it had no application to any existing persons. That made me look to see what was said as regards this paragraph when the matter was first introduced by the Home Secretary. The reason he gave for the paragraph was this. He said—
Paragraph (m) of Clause 2 enables us to keep men who are at present interned for the further period of six months, if necessary. There may be a difficulty, as, for instance, lack of shipping, which may make it impossible to get them all back to their own home.
That was said by the Home Secretary on April 15, and if those conditions had still prevailed one could understand that there was some meaning in this paragraph. But when the noble Earl tells us that all those conditions have come to an end, and that there are no persons left who, for lack of shipping, cannot be sent back to their own homes, the paragraph appears to me to have no meaning at all in the present Bill. If that is so, I suggest that it would be very unfortunate to include this paragraph unless it was necessary for the purposes of the time and for the purposes of the Bill. If it is not required now, it would really be a somewhat provocative statement of what might be done in the event of some future war. When that war arises will be, I think, sufficient time to make any provision of that character. And it is impossible, at this stage at any rate, to say what would be right under those conditions. Therefore I move that paragraph (m) be omitted.
Page 2, lines 16 to 19, leave out paragraph (m).
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD BIRKENHEAD)
It may, perhaps, shorten discussion if the noble Earl (Lord Desart) who has a similar Amendment on the Paper will allow me to explain now. This paragraph was necessary at the time the Bill was introduced as there was a considerable number of civilian prisoners of war then in internment, and the date at which the Peace might be concluded with the States to which they variously belong and the power to retain them in internment were somewhat uncertain. There are now no such prisoners of war in internment, 743 and unless in the immediate future further internments become necessary the paragraph has no value, except as a provision for future war. It was preserved in the framework of the Bill with the view that it could do no harm and that it might be convenient as avoiding the necessity of legislation in the future.
But I am fully alive to the force of the considerations which the noble and learned Lord has put forward, and I am certainly not disposed, in a matter which bristles with contemporary difficulties, to take upon myself the burden of difficulties which will not arise until a new war breaks out, at a date which one devoutly hopes will be very remote. I hope it will be taken as some evidence of a genuine desire on the part of the Government to meet all legitimate objections that are taken to the framework of this Bill that I accept the Amendment which the noble and learned Lord has moved. I hope, too, that all your Lordships will remember in the whole course of these discussions that we are dealing with an extremely difficult matter in which the considerations on both sides are in many cases almost equally balanced, and in which popular feeling even now runs very high. We must try to seek, in the course of these debates, a reasonable yet a fair course, and in accepting this Amendment I give some little earnest that we are not closing our ears to such Amendments as appear to us to be fair.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, in subsection (2), to leave out "the subjects of any State which has been at war with His Majesty at any time during the year 1918 and," and to insert "former enemy aliens." The noble and learned Lord said: This is a formal Amendment.
Page 2, line 22, leave out from the first ("of") to the second ("and") in line 24, and insert ("former enemy aliens").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD PARMOORmoved, towards the end of subsection (2), to leave out "or other dealings with". The noble and learned Lord said: This, again, is a matter of some difficulty, and I hope I may assure the Lord Chancellor that when he accepts 744 Amendments which present matters of difficulty, while we are thankful he does so, there will be no suggestion made as regards other Amendments because of that. When the noble Earl referred to this subsection (2) in the debate on the Second Reading of the Bill, he said that this was a formal clause necessary for dealing with enemy aliens' property in this country. If that were all, I should have no objection whatever, but, as I said at the time, the clause appeared to me to go much further.
§ Since then I have looked at what was said by the Home Secretary about this clause when he introduced the Bill. He took a very different view from that presented by the noble Earl. He said that it was wanted with the object—I am using his own words—of "economic reprisals." It appears to me that the words are quite sufficiently wide to be used for such a purpose. For instance, the words "or other dealings with the property of such subjects" may mean the whole question of trade carried on between this country and another country which was formerly an enemy. If the words have that wide meaning, surely they are extremely dangerous and quite wrong. You do not mean when trade has been reopened—when it is—that on the ipse dixit of a particular Minister it should be stopped, because that is what it comes to. The subsection says that His Majesty may "make regulations requiring information to be given as to the property, liabilities, and interests of the subjects," and so on, and for preventing the transfer of or other dealings with the property of such subjects. That may mean the stopping of all trade with a country.
§ I raised this question on the Second Reading, and I want to say another word about it. By the operation of Clause 13 of the Bill you would apply this doctrine of economic reprisals, as it is called by the Home Secretary, to all foreign trade—for example, trade between ourselves and America and France as well as other countries. If the noble Earl will assure me that the words do not bear the meaning which the Home Secretary seemed to attach to them, of course my objection would be satisfied, but I do not think the words as they stand can very well be limited to the purpose he stated in speaking on the Second Reading. I move my Amendment in order to get a further statement from the noble Earl.745
Page 2, line 25, leave out ("or other dealings with").—(Lord Parmoor.)
THE EARL OF ONSLOW
I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord for raising this question. I think he is under the impression that the inclusion of the words "other dealings" may lead to the promulgation of an Order in Council prohibiting trade at any time between this country and our former enemies, or some other similar proceeding calculated to hamper dealings with them. I can assure your Lordships that that is not the intention. The subsection is designed solely to enable the authorities to get full particulars of the property of all former enemy aliens with a view to enforcing the clauses of the Peace Treaty, under which that property is charged with debts owing to, and claims by, British subjects. If it would meet the noble and learned Lord's point, I would be prepared to give an assurance that it is not intended to use the clause in the way that he has apprehended but only in the way that I have described. I am afraid, however, it would not be possible to accept the Amendment as it stands. If we were to do so it might defeat the objects of the clause. It would clearly not be enough to prohibit the out-and-out transfer of property without also prohibiting the transfer of mortgages and kindred dealings.
§ LORD PARMOOR
I am much obliged to the noble Earl. After his assurance I should not think of pressing my Amendment, but I wish he would consider this question in connection with the draftsman. Taking this clause as limited to the property of an enemy alien during war time, in reference to which we want further information, as he says, if that is the view (which I quite recognise after his statement) perhaps he Would consider between now and Report whether some words might not be introduced to make it more clear. I was only giving my own view when I said that the Bill seemed to have a much larger meaning.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Page 2, line 26, leave out ("subjects") and insert ("aliens").—(The Earl of Onslow.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.
§ Clause 5:
§ Employment of aliens in ships of the mercantile marine.
§ 5.—(1) No alien shall act as master, chief officer or chief engineer of a British merchant ship registered in the United Kingdom, or as skipper or second hand of a fishing boat registered in the United Kingdom, except in the case of a ship or boat employed habitually in voyages between ports outside the United Kingdom:
§ Provided that this prohibition shall not apply to any alien who has acted as a master, chief officer, or chief engineer of a British ship, or as skipper of a British fishing boat, at any time during the war, and is certified by the Admiralty to have performed good and faithful service in that capacity.
§ THE EARL OF ONSLOW moved, in the proviso to subsection (1), after "skipper," to insert "or second hand." The noble Earl said: This is a purely drafting Amendment.
Page 3, line 15, after ("skipper") insert ("or second hand").—(The Earl of Onslow.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 6:
§ Appointment of aliens to the Civil Service.
§ 6. After the passing of this Act no alien shall be appointed to any office or place in the Civil Service of the United Kingdom.
§ THE EARL OF ONSLOW moved to leave out "United Kingdom" and to insert "State."
Page 3, line 39, leave out ("United Kingdom") and insert ("State").—(The Earl of Onslow.)
THE EARL OF DESART
I put down an Amendment on this point, and perhaps I might refer to it here. I felt some doubt whether the words would extend to the Consular and Diplomatic appointments, but if the word "State" is inserted it meets the point I desired to raise.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.747
§ Clause 7:
§ Restriction of change of name by aliens.
§ 7.—(1) An alien shall not for any purpose assume or use or continue after the commencement of this Act the assumption or use of any name other than that by which he was ordinarily known on the fourth day of August nineteen hundred and fourteen.
§ (2) Where any alien carries on or purports or continues to carry on, or is a member of a partnership or firm which carries on, or which purports or continues to carry on any trade or business in any name other than that under which the trade or business was carried on on the fourth of August nineteen hundred and fourteen, he shall for the purpose of this section be deemed to be using or purporting or continuing to use a name other than that by which he was ordinarily known on the said date.
§ (3) A Secretary of State may, if it appears desirable on special grounds in any particular case, grant an exemption from the provisions of this section, but shall not do so unless he is satisfied that the name proposed to be assumed or used, or to be continued to be assumed or used, is in the circumstances of the case a suitable name.
§ (4) Nothing in this section shall—
- (a) affect the assumption or use or continued assumption or use of any name in pursuance of a royal licence; or
- (b) affect the continuance of the use by any person of a name which he has assumed before the commencement of this Act if he has been granted an exemption under the Defence of the Realm Act or the Aliens Restriction Order; or
- (c) prevent the assumption or use by a married woman of her husband's name.
§ (5) A fee of ten guineas shall be paid by any alien on obtaining an exemption under this section; but the Secretary of State may remit the whole or any part of such fee in special cases.
§ (6) A list of the persons to whom the Secretary of State has granted an exemption under this section, shall be published in the Gazette as soon as may be after the granting of the exemption.
§ (7) Any person to whom any such exemption is granted shall, unless the Secretary of State shall expressly dispense with such publication, within one calendar month thereafter publish at his own expense, in some paper circulating in the district in which he resides, an advertisement stating the fact that the exemption has been granted.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, in subsection (3), to leave out "or used, or to be continued to be assumed or used," and to insert" used or continued."
Page 4, line 18, leave out from ("assumed") to ("is") in line 19, and insert ("used or continued").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.748
Page 4, line 28, leave out ("Act") and insert ("regulations").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD STRACHIE moved, in subsection (6), after "section," to insert "together with a statement of the special grounds on which each exemption has been granted." The noble Lord said: The object of this Amendment is to strengthen the clause a little. The clause is entitled "Restriction of change of name by aliens," and from the first subsections it would appear that an alien would have no right to change his name. Later in the clause, however, it is provided that the Home Secretary may, for special reasons, allow a change to be made. The object of my Amendment is not to interfere with the discretion of the Home Secretary but to ensure that in cases where he allows an alien to change his name the reasons should be publicly stated. The Lord Chancellor said the Government were trying to ride on an even keel between the extremists on either side. I do not think he can say that this is an extreme proposal. During the war there has been a great deal of suspicion of bureaucratic interference in these matters, and my object is to strengthen the clause and to ensure that when the Home Secretary does give permission to an alien to change his name the reasons for doing so shall be made public.
Page 4, line 37, after ("section") insert ("together with a statement of the special grounds on which each exemption has been granted").—(Lord Strachie.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
It is a somewhat refreshing change to find an Amendment moved which suggests that the Government have made the provisions of this Bill not too strong but too weak. The history of this particular proposal suggests that your Lordships would not be well advised to adopt it. This same Amendment was moved by Mr. Bottomley, or one of his supporters, during the Committee stage in the House of Commons, and after an explanation by the Home Secretary it was not adopted. It was put down on the Report stage and was the subject of further discussion, but was not pressed to a Division. The noble Lord 749 says his object is to make it compulsory to insert a statement in the Gazette of the reasons for which any alien is allowed to change his name. In other words, it is not limited to the case of enemy aliens but applies to all aliens. I cannot believe it to be a reasonable or well-balanced proposal that the Gazette should be loaded with matters of this kind. We may have a number of French allies who, for private reasons, have changed their names—reasons which would justify and require a change—and to make it compulsory to publish to the world the reasons seems to me to be oppressive to the individual concerned and a course which would involve needless expense to the public. I hope that the noble Lord will not press the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 7, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 8:
§ Provisions as to aliens on juries.
§ 8. No alien shall sit upon a jury in any judicial or other proceedings if challenged by any party to such proceedings.
§ LORD STRACHIE moved to omit "if challenged by any party to such proceedings." The noble Lord said: I do not know whether the Lord Chancellor will have the same objection to this Amendment. There is no reason why an alien under any conditions should be allowed to sit on a jury. It is quite true that you can challenge a jury, but, as a matter of principle, should any enemy alien be on the jury at all? A man ought to be tried by his fellow countrymen and not by the subjects of another country.
Amendment moved —
Page 5, line 8, leave out from the first ("proceedings") to the end of the clause.—(Lord Strachie.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
The Amendment of the noble Lord is, I think, based upon an erroneous conception of the general view which is held of jury service. The Amendment would rather presuppose that it was a privilege, enormously sought after by all sections of the community. I have been far too long associated with the administration of justice to allow myself to be a party to any such delusion. The contrary is, of course, the case. I am not saying that 750 there are not public-spirited citizens belonging to the leisured classes to whom jury service is the same kind of agreeable diversion that service on the magisterial bench is to other persons belonging to a different section of society. We must never exclude from our minds the idea that jury service is an obligation, and: often an extremely irksome obligation. It takes a man from his business and compels him to contribute his time to the public service, which very often means an actual pecuniary loss. The view taken is that if an alien has been resident here for over ten years it is to be assumed that he has so associated himself with the national life of this country, and derived such a degree of benefit from its institutions and the protection which they afford him, that he may bear his part in the discharge, of these necessary public duties. It would, of course, be right to provide a protection to the individual who objected to an alien trying his particular case. Adequate protection is given in this clause; and subject to that I am of the opinion, as was the House of Commons after considerable debate, that there is no sufficient reason why an alien who has resided here for ten years should escape this public burden.
§ LORD PHILLIMORE
May I point out to the noble Lord that great danger may arise if his Amendment is carried. Nobody can be certain a priori whether a person sitting on a jury is an alien or not. If his Amendment stood, the whole verdict might be set aside because it was discovered afterwards that somebody had sat on the jury who was an alien. I am sure that all my legal friends would agree that the clause must stand as it is drafted if it is to be really workable.
§ LORD STRACHIE
I am satisfied that the arguments of my noble friend who has just sat down are quite conclusive, and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 8 agreed to.
LORD WITTENHAM moved, after Clause 8, to insert the following new clause—
.Leave shall not be given to an alien to land in the United Kingdom unless he complies with the following conditions, that is to say—
§ The noble Lord said: I hope my proposed new clause will receive favourable consideration, not only at the hands of the Government but of your Lordships generally. There is no question of principle involved here, although there is an important question of form. If I may be allowed for a moment to refer to what took place in the House of Commons, I think it will be clear to your Lordships, from what the Home Secretary said, that I have not mis-stated the case in saying that the question is merely one of form. The Home Secretary said on October 22, when this clause with one slight exception came before the House of Commons: "These things"—he meant the matters referred to in my proposed new clause— "are in fact the law to-day. They are law by virtue of an Order in Council which was signed on August 18. They are the ordinary law of the land." Then he went on to say: "The question is, Are we going to pin these things down to-day in a Statute, instead of leaving them in a form in which they can be improved at any moment?"
§ Therefore that is the issue on which I desire, if I may, and I hope successfully, to meet the contention of the Home Secretary, because I do not think I stand alone in this House in holding the opinion that legislation by Order in Council is highly inconvenient and sometimes very bad. During the war, no doubt, when circumstances changed from moment to moment, like the glass in a kaleidoscope, it was impossible to put everything you wanted to do in an Act of Parliament, 752 because it would mean that you would be introducing Bills three or four times a week. It had to be done by Order in Council, because in the circumstances there was no other way of doing it. Now we hope that the war is over and will not be renewed, and many of us think that at any rate the provisions which I now propose, and which were proposed in the House of Commons, might well be put into statutory form in this measure. What can be the objection? The Home Secretary does not disagree with a single one of these provisions. Then why not put them into a Statute? He says things may change from day to day, or in effect he says so, but if your Lordships will be good enough to look at the new clause you will, I think, see that none of the provisions which I have inserted, and which are in the Order in Council which stands at this moment, are likely to change from day to day.
§ Take, for instance, provision (a), "He is in a position to support himself and his dependants in a reasonable condition of comfort." That is a provision which if put into this Statute your Lordships would not desire to vary. I imagine that none of your Lordships would care to let in an alien, at this time of day, who is not in a position to support himself and his dependants in a reasonable condition of comfort. Then (b), "He is not a lunatic, idiot, or mentally deficient." That stands to-day, and is likely to stand for all time, as a condition precedent to an alien being allowed to come to this country. So with (c), (d), (e), and (f). I need not weary your Lordships by going all through them.
§ There is only one provision which is in the Order in Council and which I propose to omit from the new clause, and that is subsection (c) in the Order in Council, which runs as follows: "Is not unfit from a moral, social, or educational standpoint." I omit that, not because one disagrees with the canon laid down in that subsection, but because it seemed to a good many members of the other House, and it seems to me, that it may be very difficult to decide whether an alien is so unfit. Take morally unfit. That is a question more of degree than of kind, which is regarded differently in different countries. So also with the social and educational standpoint. There is no absolute canon there which you can say ought to be applied to aliens, and it would land you 753 in considerable difficulty to find out the proper ratio decidendi under each of those subheads. Therefore I have omitted that provision from the proposed new clause. Otherwise it is word for word what your Lordships will find in the Order in Council.
§ It therefore comes back to this, that it is a question of form—namely, ought it to be in an Act of Parliament or are you content to leave it in an Order in Council, which can be passed to-day and altered to-morrow, without anybody being any the wiser, because although there is a form about laying Orders in Council upon the Tables of both Houses, that means nothing at all. Therefore I hope that if your Lordships are satisfied that these provisions are good in an Order in Council you will think that they are better in an Act of Parliament. On that ground I hope that this proposed new clause may receive favourable consideration at the hands of the Government and of your Lordships, and I beg to move its adoption.
Insert the said new clause.—(Lord Wittenham.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
A similar, though not identical, proposal stands in the name of Lord Sydenham. The clause which is now proposed to be added is almost the same as one which was moved in Committee in the House of Commons, and was rejected by 10 votes to 8. It was put down again on the Report stage, but not adopted. The general effect, as the noble Lord has told the House, is to give statutory expression to the conditions under which leave to land is at present given or refused in pursuance of the Aliens Order, 1919, which is made under the authority of the principal Act. As the Home Secretary stated elsewhere, it is intended to continue similar conditions on leave to land by Orders in Council when this Bill becomes law, and the whole question is whether under the extraordinary circumstances of the present day convenience points to the course of placing these rules in the Act itself, or to the alternative course of continuing to allow the Home Secretary discretion in the circumstances indicated.
It is, perhaps, in this connection not unimportant to notice that international relations are at this moment extra-ordinarily fluid. It is very difficult to pronounce upon them with the certainty 754 of prediction which on normal occasions would be very easy, and the view which has been taken by the authorities is the view which was taken by the House of Commons—that for a time at least it is wiser to pursue the elastic course of dealing with this matter by means of Order in Council which can be adjusted to the changing conditions that very little imagination will remind us may arise in the near future. The view taken and put by me to the House is that it is undesirable and is calculated to obstruct the effective working of the whole policy to stereotype in statutory form certain sections which are taken out of the Order in Council in the manner proposed in the Amendment. The Home Office may be right or they may be wrong, but they hold very strongly the view that it would be unwise to limit their conduct in the manner proposed by the Amendment, and I hope that your Lordships will take the view taken in the House of Commons.
§ LORD WITTENHAM
In the circumstances I should not venture to put your Lordships to the trouble of any further discussion on the matter, but I thought it my duty to bring it before your Lordships, and I will let it rest there.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD AMPTHILL
The object of the new clause which I move to insert after Clause 8 is to mitigate the evils of unemployment by providing that no undue proportion of aliens should secure jobs which would otherwise be open to men and women of this country. That is an object which the Prime Minister himself has placed in the forefront of his political programme and propaganda. I should like to quote his own words. Speaking in the month of October, at Sheffield, the Prime Minister said—We must preserve out assets not merely underground, such as coal, but the living assets that are above the ground. You have to teach all the people all the time that this country is theirs in peace as well as in war.He went on to explain the problem, and pointed out that there were 200,000 more men and women employed in industry then than there were during the war, that there were 400,000 women for whom employment had yet to be found, and, besides that, that there were between 400,000 and 500,000 men not yet demo-bilised 755 for whom employment would have to be provided. He wound up by saying "That is the problem. Can we solve it?" This is simply an attempt to make a small beginning in the way of solving that problem. I submit to your Lordships that it is a just and perfectly feasible method of doing so. I need not take up your Lordships' time in dilating upon the alien problem in this country, which is just as full of gravity and inconvenience as it was before the war. Perhaps all your Lordships have not actually seen the conditions which obtain in the East End of London, and in certain quarters of our other big cities, but I imagine that there is no member of this House who has not noticed both before the war and even at the present time what a very large proportion of the waiters in restaurants and hotels are of foreign extraction. Before the war in many first-class establishments it was a matter of eighty or ninety per cent. foreigners, and long before the war it was generally realised that those men were the most active and efficient agents of the German spy system—a spy system which had been established not only for the purpose of war but also for that of commercial competition.
Another thing which is generally known and recognised, especially by those who follow the police reports or have anything to do with the administration of justice, is that vice and crime in our large cities are very largely fostered by aliens from all countries. And your Lordships will notice that this clause does not apply only to enemy aliens but to all kinds of aliens. It needs but little explanation, but I should like to point out in regard to the words in the second section "if the total number of persons so employed by any person, firm or company is less than five this section shall not apply," that that is only a provision to prevent interference with small businesses such as that carried on by an alien and his wife, as for instance the case of an Italian ice-cream vendor or something of that kind. A further matter that needs a word of explanation is that the licence of the Secretary of State may be given to make an exception to this provision. That was put in when this clause was proposed in another place to meet a purely hypothetical objection. It was put forward by the Home Secretary, who suggested that there might be cases in which an alien was carrying on a trade in which there was some secret process which it might be desirable 756 that only aliens should be employed on. I submit that this clause errs on the side of moderation if it errs at all, and the object is to preclude any grounds for legitimate grievance.
Your Lordships will notice that the clause opens with the words "Subject and without prejudice to any treaty obligations." In the Standing Committee of the House of Commons where this clause was debated for the best part of three days out of eight which were given to the consideration of the Bill, the representative of the Government said that any such clause would be a violation of commercial treaties. He was asked to prove his contention, and to produce a Treaty, and after a good deal of hesitation a summary of Treaties was very reluctantly produced, and upon examination it was found that it did not bear out any such contention. Nevertheless the author of the clause inserted these words in order that there might be a safeguard in case some treaty might be violated through being overlooked, or in case it was needed for the sake of any future treaty.
What can be said against this clause? Personally I only know of one objection that deserves serious attention, and that is that it may induce foreign countries to make reprisals. What if they were to do so? Supposing a British employer wished to set up a factory in a foreign country—in France, or in Germany, or in Italy, or anywhere else—do your Lordships think that he would have any legitimate cause of complaint if the law of that country provided that only a quarter of his staff might be Englishmen? Would he complain? Could we complain? "What is sauce for goose is sauce for the gander"; and if we should not think it unfair that other countries should make a provision of that kind, it is unreasonable to suppose that foreign countries would regard it as unjust or unfair if we protected ourselves in a similar manner.
It is, indeed, very difficult to understand such opposition as there has been to this clause; because the clause actually enables the Government to fulfil the very definite Election pledge to which expression was given on the platform in the last election by the cry of "Britain for the British." A great many Coalition Members won their seats by saying that they would do something to give employment to our own people and to prevent this country from being a dumping ground for the alien 757 as it had been in the past. As far as I can make out the opposition seems to have been Departmental, and to have proceeded from a desire to continue the objectionable method of legislation by Order in Council, to which my noble friend who has just sat down referred. I hold, as my noble. friend did, that the continuance of that method—which we have all got to dislike so heartily during the war—is utterly subversive of constitutional government. Laws should be made in Parliament and by Parliament, in order that every man may know where he is, what the law is, and where the terms of it are to be found. I think your Lordships will find that it would be in accordance with general opinion in this country if legislation by Order in Council were brought to an end as soon as possible.
I mentioned just now that a Standing Committee of the House of Commons debated this clause for three days out of eight; and the history of the clause during those discussions is rather a curious one. In the first instance it was carried by 15 votes to 12; on a later day—when certain members of the Committee who had not shown any particular interest in the Bill turned up—it was lost by 13 votes to 15. I should remark that at that time the clause was very much more drastic than that which I have put on the Paper, because it then provided that only 10 per cent. of aliens might be employed in any one business. The clause then came before the House of Commons, and it was really only by a mere chance that it was not adopted there. If it had been proposed upon another day (I am assured by my friends) it would most certainly have been carried; and I do not think it is too much to say that, if your Lordships were to adopt it, a majority in the other place would be extremely glad. Finally, I assert that it is not too much to say that the Government are bound in honour to fulfil pledges given during the last Election by inserting in the Bill a clause of this kind. I now move my Amendment.
Insert the following new clause:
.—(1) Subject and without prejudice to any treaty obligations, no person or firm or company established or carrying on any trade, business or undertaking in the United Kingdom shall be entitled to employ, or shall employ, in any establishment belonging to or carried on by such person, firm or company in connection with such trade, business or undertaking in the United Kingdom without the licence of the Secretary of
State to be granted for special reasons, any aliens to a greater number than twenty-five per cent. of the total number of persons employed by him or them in such establishment.
Provided, however, that if the total number of the persons so employed by any such person, firm or company is less than five, this section shall not apply.
(2) Every person and firm and very such company as aforesaid who employs any aliens in the United Kingdom shall make a return to the Home Office on or before the first day of July in every year, stating the full name and address of every such alien and the capacity in which he or she is employed, and the total number of persons employed by him or them in the United Kingdom, and any further particulars which may be required by the Secretary of State."—(Lord Ampthill.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
This clause was moved on Report stage in the House of Commons. It was opposed by the Home Secretary on the ground that it, was objectionable, but I think even more on the ground that in practice it was unworkable; and after considerable debate (which the noble Lord has evidently read) it was rejected by 205 votes to 130. The clause as put down by the noble Lord follows in substance—differing merely as regards the permissible percentages of alien employees in any works—a clause that was moved by Sir John Butcher which was presented in Standing Committee of the House of Commons, read a second time, subjected to a large amount of destructive criticism and of suggested amendments at the hands of its own promoters, and finally was rejected in Committee on the Motion that it should stand part of the Bill.
I am by no means without sympathy with the general object which the noble Lord has in view, but I cannot resist the conclusion—having read those debates and having listened to the arguments used by the noble Lord to-night—that the method of dealing with this particular problem, by selecting artificial percentages of the numbers of aliens engaged, is not one which can be recommended either by any principle of common sense or by any reasonable prospect of success in the working. The noble Lord's object is one which, of course, every one shares. It is to protect as far as possible British subjects from competition to which it is thought they ought not, in a given place, to be exposed. But the immediate question which requires decision is whether or not the method of dealing with such a matter by hard and fast percentages is one which can be defended. I certainly have reached 759 the conclusion which was reached by the House of Commons—namely, that such an artificial and stereotyped method pays not the slightest attention to the conditions of the various industries which might be hit by the clause. It is notorious that there are industries in this country of foreign origin, under foreign management, to a great extent dependent on foreign expert labour which it is not in the interests of this country to expel and which it is not unreasonable to suppose, in the light of the experience of the past, would be carried on either as efficiently or as beneficially to the interests of the community as a whole if an attempt were made to substitute British for foreign labour. Take, for instance, the case of certain branches of the tailoring trade, the restaurant business, and branches of the furniture trade. To carry any such proposal into effect would involve a great number of Police proceedings and a general interference with business, which I cannot think would be very desirable in the circumstances of the moment; and it would perpetuate what is so bitterly and generally complained of—the annoyances analogous to those under the Defence of the Realm Regulations.
There is a further argument which I hope will appeal more strongly to the noble Lord than I know those I have hitherto used will appeal to him. This clause would undoubtedly, and justly, expose British subjects carrying on business abroad to retaliation in whatever country they may be seeking employment. The noble Lord is essentially a fair-minded man, and he would not be so unreasonable as to say that, if we justifiably or mistakenly in protecting our own nationals are to expose aliens in this country to this disability, we must not be prepared that other countries may take precisely similar or even stronger steps in relation to our nationals. It is not, perhaps, unreasonable to see where retaliation if it became general would involve us, and whether the position of the citizens of this country would on balance be improved. I take a single illustration of that, though I am informed that if I made the illustration more general my argument would not be weakened. Take the case of our French allies. I suppose we should all agree that, whatever else may be our object in passing this Bill, it is no part of our object to create ill-feeling in France. The position in France at this moment is that 36,000 760 British subjects are resident and most of them are carrying on business in France; the comparable figure of French subjects in this country being 20,000. I cannot believe that the noble Lord wishes to subject those 36,000 British subjects in France—who are at this moment, so far as I am aware, subject to no disability of this kind at all—to this inconvenience in order that we may enjoy the great indulgence of exposing to the inconvenience of this kind of Department control 20,000 Frenchmen, the subjects of a brave ally. I am sure it is not the noble Lord's object, yet it is quite evidently involved in the proposal which he has just recommended to the House.
The noble Lord made somewhat light—I think unduly light—of an objection which was very much pressed against this proposal in another place. He says that he has inserted in the opening words of his clause these guarding words, "Subject and without prejudice to any treaty obligations." The noble Lord must not imagine that by the use of a general phrase of this kind he could really get rid of the large number of commercial treaties in which our obligations in matters of this kind are very clearly defined. I greatly doubt the effectiveness of the words used by the noble Lord's Amendment to carry out his purpose. But assume that his purpose is so carried out by these words. I say without any doubt at all, being familiar with some of these treaties that, if these words have the effect which he attributed to them, it would reduce the practical working of the clause to an impossibility and—if he will allow me to say so without impoliteness—to an absurdity. In other words, our commitments and commercial treaties in this matter are so considerable that if the noble Lord's percentage plan were only to apply in those cases in which we have no commercial obligations its field of operations is so limited as certainly not to make it worth while to attempt it, having regard to the inconveniences which I have indicated. Under all these circumstances I hope he will not think it necessary to press his Amendment.
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
I think the noble and learned Lord opposite has made out a conclusive case against this Amendment. There are certain industries in this country which have progressed in a very marked degree from what we have learnt from the 761 Continent. Take, for example, the industry of carrying on hotels and restaurants in London. Your Lordships remember what the level used to be thirty years ago, and the change that was made when the great hotels and restaurants were introduced which have set an example to all the others and raised the level. How is it that places like the Ritz and the Carlton and much humbler places have progressed? The reason is that they are run by Swiss and Frenchmen very largely, who have been trained to the business. In Switzerland, for instance, there is a regular system of training the managers of hotels, and also the waiters. The result is that it is not by accident that your Lordships find the admirably conducted services that there are in those establishments, but because you have got a number of people who have been brought in and trained. It may be that in course of time we shall do the same thing, but we are now in the state in which we have to borrow assistance from elsewhere, and without the assistance of these people we should be unable to raise the level.
What I have said about the hotels and restaurants is true of certain other industries; for instance, optical glass. We have just begun to make that a great subject in this country, but I have known cases where the manufacturers of delicate optical glass have had to import their workmen from abroad, simply because there were no workmen here who had been trained to the kind of standard that is required. That is true of other industries where foreigners have been trained to delicate work. There are French workmen of a degree of skill which we have not got here, because we have not brought the average workman up to it. To shut all these people out is to inflict, I think, a great check on the progress which we are making, and for that reason, in addition to the reasons which the noble and learned Lord opposite has given, I feel that this clause is a thoroughly retrograde one in the public interest.
§ LORD AMPTHILL
I am afraid that the arguments of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack have not altered my convictions in the slightest degree, and I very much hope that they have not influenced all of your Lordships. Does the noble and learned Lord seriously contend that tailoring, restaurants, and the furniture business in this country ought to remain in 762 the hands of foreigners? Has he really persuaded your Lordships that there are no Englishmen who are capable of carrying on those trades and businesses as well as the foreigner? As regards the 20,000 Frenchmen, the probability is that not a single Frenchman would be interfered with. All that my clause provides is that in no single business should there be more than 25 per cent. of aliens. There may be one case in a million where you would find 25 per cent. of Frenchmen in any important business, and I say with the greatest confidence that the chances are that not a single one of these 20,000 Frenchmen would be interfered with. Similarly in the matter of possible retaliation, which the noble and learned Lord made his principal point. My answer to him is—Can he quote one single instance in which there are 25 per cent. of British citizens employed in a business in France? The likelihood is that, if France had a similar law, not a single Englishman would be interfered with. What this will do is to get rid of the undue proportion of aliens in certain trades and businesses in this country, where their presence is very strongly objected to, and where for a long time past—long before the war—it was regarded by most people as a serious and dangerous evil. I shall certainly test the feeling of the Committee and see if there are not at any rate some of your Lordships who are in agreement with the very strong public opinion on this subject.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
§ Clause 9:
§ Deportation of former enemy aliens.
§ 9.—(1) Every former enemy alien who is now in the United Kingdom shall be deported forthwith unless he shall within two months after the passing of this Act make an application to the Secretary of State in the prescribed form to be allowed to remain in the United Kingdom, stating the grounds on which such application is based, and unless the Secretary of State shall grant him a licence to remain: Provided that this subsection shall not apply to such former enemy aliens as were exempted from internment or repatriation on the recommendation of any advisory committee appointed after the first day of January, one thousand nineteen hundred and eighteen, and before the passing of this Act.
§ (2) The Secretary of State may, if he is satisfied on the recommendation of the advisory committee hereinafter mentioned that there is no reason to the contrary, grant such licence, subject to such terms and conditions (if any) as he shall think fit.
§ (3) The committee may, unless satisfied by reports from the naval, military, air-force, or police authorities that there is good reason to the 763 contrary, recommend the exemption from deportation of a former enemy alien on any one or more of the following grounds, namely:—
- (a) That the applicant is seventy years of age or upwards;
- (b) That the applicant is suffering from serious and permanent illness or infirmity;
- (c) That the applicant has one or more sons who voluntarily enlisted and served in His Majesty's forces or the forces of one of the allied or associated Powers;
- (d) That the applicant has lived for at least twenty years in this country and married a British-born wife;
- (e) That the applicant came to reside in the United Kingdom when he was under the age of twelve years;
- (f) That the applicant has served in His Majesty's forces during the war or resided in the United Kingdom for not less than twenty years, and has rendered valuable personal services to this country during the war;
- (g)That the applicant is a minister of religion.
§ (4) The committee may also where the application for a licence is made on any ground other than one or more of these above specified, if satisfied that owing to the special circumstances of the case deportation would involve serious hardship to the applicant or to his wife or children, or owing to the special technical knowledge or skill of the applicant, would involve injury to any British interest, recommend his exemption as aforesaid.
§ (5) In granting a licence under this section, the Secretary of State may include in the licence the wife of the applicant and any child or children of his under the age of eighteen.
§ (6) A list of the persons to whom such licence is granted shall, as soon as may be after the granting of the licence, be published in the Gazette.
§ (7) Any licence so granted may be at any time revoked by the Secretary of State.
§ (8) If such licence is not granted or if, having been granted, it shall be revoked, the Secretary of State shall make an order (in this Act referred to as a deportation order) requiring the alien to leave the United Kingdom and thereafter to remain out of the United Kingdom for a period of seven years after the passing of this Act. The Secretary of State may, by a deportation order, require the alien to return to the country of which he is a subject or citizen.
§ (9) The provisions of this section shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any other provisions of the principal Act or this Act, or any Order in Council made thereunder, providing for the deportation of aliens.
§ (10) The Secretary of State shall appoint an advisory committee for the purpose of this section consisting of a chairman and such other persons, including members of both Houses of Parliament, as the Secretary of State thinks fit.
§ (11) This section shall not apply to a woman who was at the time of her marriage a British subject.764
§ LORD NEWTONmoved, in subsection (1), to leave out all words after "Every former enemy alien who is now in the United Kingdom," and to insert "and to whom this section applies shall be deported forthwith unless the Advisory Committee to be constituted under this section shall make a recommendation to the Secretary of State that he be granted a licence to remain".
§ The noble Lord said: The first Amendment which stands in my name is entirely dependant upon a subsequent Amendment which also appears in my name, and I hope that, for purposes of convenience, I may be allowed to argue both of them, because I believe it will save a certain amount of time. I have no intention of repeating the speech which I made on the Second Reading of this Bill, but there is one misconception which I think it is desirable to remove. One of the speakers in the debate, the noble Marquess, Lord Lincolnshire, intimated that as a life-long Liberal he heartily supported this clause because it only dealt with Germans who had abused our hospitality and with other Germans who had all-used and maltreated British prisoners. In case there should be any other life-long Liberal under a similar misconception I should like to assure the Committee that this Amendment has absolutely no reference to this class of person at all. They are no more affected than the noble Lord or myself is.
§ What the clause actually does is this. It enacts that all ex-enemy aliens—not Germans necessarily—all Turks, Bulgarians, Austrians, and Germans who were not interned during the course of the war are liable to be deported unless they are able to bring before a Committee within two months reasons why they should be allowed to remain here. I do not want to say too much about this, but I feel disposed to ask a question. I wish someone would explain to me why an alien who was so innocuous in 1914 and 1915 that he was left uninterned, is now so dangerous that he must be deported within a given space of time. I should have thought that the only thing that could have happened to him was that he had grown five years older and probably more stupid as well, like many other people.
§ The opinion of this House has already been very strongly expressed upon this subject, and there is no mistake about it. The view of the House was that if an alien 765 had in any way violated the hospitality of this country, he should be punished in the severest possible way and that practically no mercy should be shown, but, on the other hand, it was equally emphatically expressed that if a man had committed no offence against this country, even if he were an ex-enemy alien, he was entitled to fully as much justice as anybody else. That being the general view—I admit it is also my own view—one's natural impulse would be to move the rejection of the clause. I feel bound to state that in my opinion the clause is unworthy of us as a nation; it is a violation of all our traditions of generosity; it is vindictive; it is unnecessary; and it is also going to be extremely expensive. I would also point out—as was illustrated. by some remarks which fell from the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, at an earlier period to-night— that this will react in an extremely unfavourable manner on British subjects in the four countries affected. Nobody surely can be so simple as to suppose that if we are going to indulge in a vindictive action of this kind, there will not be retaliation on British subjects in the four enemy countries.
I said that one's natural inclination—and I suppose it is the natural inclination of most noble Lords present to-day—would be to move the rejection of the clause. Instead of doing so, however, I propose, in the Amendments which stand in my name on the Paper, certain modifications which I really think ought to satisfy every reasonable person. To put the case quite briefly, the modifications which I propose amount to this. In the first place, it is proposed that the categories should be abolished. The futility of categories as they appear in the clause has been sufficiently exposed by the noble and learned Lord opposite (Lord Buckmaster) in the course of previous debates, and I do not think. I need go into that question, but I should like to point out that categories have been condemned not only by the noble and learned Lord opposite, but by the highest authority on the question, Lord Justice Younger, who was President of the last Committee which was appointed to inquire into the aliens question. This Committee reported as follows with regard to categories—
No generalisation was possible. Length of residence, for example, British-born wife and young children, sons serving in the Army, constitute, as all would agree, prima facie circumstances
more or less strong in the alien's favour. Yet the Committee, on examination, found cases in which all these circumstances together did not, in their judgment, suffice. On the other hand, cases of quite short residence, where, too, the alien himself was a single man, were, on investigation, found to be coupled with other circumstances which made the only permissible recommendation one of exemption.
In other words categories are no good, and it is impossible to avoid injustice and hardship under them. I confess that it seems to me that if you appoint a very important and a very expensive Committee for the purpose of inquiring into aliens, you ought to give that Committee the fullest discretion. It does not follow, even because a man is seventy, that he is completely innocuous, or even because a man has resided nearly all his life here, that he is innocuous. You have to take each ease on its merits if the inquiry is to be genuine. So much for that provision.
§ Now I come to the more important provision the Amendments, which is this. It is suggested in the Amendments that the alien should not be interfered with unless some credible person shall state in writing to the Home Office that the presence of the alien is contrary to the public interest. I cannot help thinking that this procedure is infinitely more simple, more just, and much more economical than that which is proposed in the Bill. In the Bill you are going to set up this Committee. I suppose that one Judge at least (probably more) will be taken from his duties to preside over it. The Committee will have to sit for months; it will have to examine many thousands of people, and not only will the expenditure be very heavy, as has been pointed out on several occasions, but their time will be largely lost, because they will be bound to inquire into the cases of all aliens affected and, of course, it will turn out that in nearly every case inquiry is entirely superfluous and unnecessary.
§ The Amendment proposes that all the Committee will have to inquire into will be such cases as are brought specifically to their notice. This seems to me an obviously practical and sensible proposal. Nor can I understand what the most ardent supporters of the clause can find to object to in it, because it practically gives them carte blanche. The professional alien-hunter, the believer in the existence of the "Black Book," the believer in the existence of the "Hidden Hand," have two months in which to formulate all sorts 767 of charges and allegations against any alien in this country, and they have only got to establish themselves, in the opinion of the Committee, as credible persons in order to have their allegations carefully investigated.
§ I venture to submit that this proposal is a perfectly reasonable compromise. The Bill remains intact. The clause remains, but it becomes a workable clause, and a just, instead of an unjust, clause. I think the Government would be well advised to accept it, more especially as they are not responsible for the clause as it appears. Everybody knows that it was forced on them against their wishes. When this matter was debated in the House of Commons it was left to a free vote, and I think it is only fair, if we take a Division on this Amendment, that the same course should be pursued here. If that is done, I have little doubt as to the result.
Page 5, line 11, leave out from ("Kingdom") to the end of subsection (1), and insert ("and to whom this section applies shall be deported forth-with unless the Advisory Committee to be constituted under this section, shall make a recommendation to the Secretary of State that he be granted a licence to remain").—(Lord Newton.)
THE LORD CHAIRMAN
In order to safeguard a later Amendment by Lord Parmoor, I will put the question in this way: Page 5, line, 11, leave out from "United Kingdom" to the end of line 11.
THE EARL OF ONSLOW
I need hardly say that the Amendments which have been placed on the Paper to this clause by noble Lords have received the most earnest and careful consideration of the Government. There are three—one moved by Lord Newton; a series of Amendments by Lord Parmoor, and an Amendment by Viscount Finlay. Lord Newton's Amendment confines the operation contemplated by this clause to those former enemy aliens only against whom some credible person suggests in writing reasons which render it undesirable that he should remain in this country. The practical effect would be to place all responsibility on the Advisory Committee in dealing with such aliens. Lord Parmoor, in his Amendments, goes somewhat further, and the general effect would be to exclude from the clause all former enemy aliens who have been exempted by any of the Advisory Committees. If the Amendment were adopted, very few 768 persons would be affected—only those whom the Home Office itself have dealt with, consisting mainly of persons who reached the age of eighteen since the operation of the Committee of 1915 came to an end. The effect is to cut out the categories binding the action of the Committee and leave the cases to their unfettered discretion. As to the Amendments of Viscount Finlay, I will read them. The noble and learned Lord proposes, in subsection (3), to omit (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), and (g), and to insert—
These various proposals have occupied the earnest and careful consideration of the Government. If, and when, the Amendments which are down in the name of Viscount Finlay are reached the Government propose to accept them as an alternative to the proposals in the Bill. The Government prefer to retain the principle of categories and not to accept proposals which have been put forward which leave the matter entirely to the discretion of the Advisory Committee. The noble Lord (Lord Newton) has said that he considers categories no good. I venture to say that the great knowledge and experience of Viscount Finlay has succeeded in drawing the limits of the categories in such a manner that no possible hardship can be inflicted on any person who may come before the Advisory Committee.
- "(a) Old age;
- "(b) Permanent illness or infirmity;
- "(c) Service during the recent war (whether by the applicant or by any son of the applicant) in His Majesty's forces or the forces of any Allied or Associated Power;
- "(d) Residence in His Majesty's Dominions either from early youth or for a long period;
- "(e) Valuable personal service to this country or any part of the British Dominions or to any Allied or Associated Power during the recent war;
- "(f) The possession of valuable technical or industrial skill;
- "(g) Proved sympathy with the cause of the Allies;
- "(h) The fact that deportation would involve either—
- (i) Serious hardship to the applicant or his wife, children or dependents, or
- (ii) Injury to any British interest;
- "(i) The fact that the mother of the applicant was a natural born British subject."
§ LORD BUCKMASTER
The uneasiness I experience in addressing your Lordships 769 upon the Amendment of Lord Newton is due to the fact that I feel certain, if it were only in my power to place before your Lordships the wrong which this Bill will inflict and the very effective nature of the remedy proposed, that there could be no doubt which way your Lordships would decide. I pointed out when this Bill was before us on the Second Reading many reasons why I thought that in this respect —I confine my criticisms to this clause alone—this Bill really was an unworthy subject of legislation.
The real ground of my objection was this. What this country needs, what this country is entitled to ask, what we are entitled and bound to secure, is protection. We are entitled to see that our hospitality is abused by no one, that the people who have done us wrong, even by word and expression of thought, should be punished. We are entitled to that; but we surely are not entitled to punish a large number of perfectly innocent and harmless people, as they will be punished if this Bill is passed in its present form. It is useless to suggest that you can by the utmost skill—and no one more respects the skill of Viscount Finlay than I do—define categories into which you can properly deposit all the different classes of people to whom you desire to grant exemption.
I do not wish now to inquire into the Amendments of Viscount Finlay. They are not before us. It is sufficient to point out two timings which are obvious on the face of them—the fact that the mother of the applicant is a natural-born British subject (that is one reason, in Viscount Finlay's proposal, why an applicant should be exempted), but not that the applicant is the husband of a natural-born British subject. It must be the applicant's mother; it does not include a man who has married an Englishwoman and has lived here for twenty or thirty years. Under the clause as proposed by the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord there could be no exemption granted unless it were possible either to establish (a) old-age, or (d) residence either from early youth or for a long period, and long period is undefined. The same thing is true of (f), possession of valuable technical or industrial skill. That always seems to me to be a mean category in which to place people, and for this reason. If the person is a man who 770 ought not to be here at all, his technical and industrial skill ought not to gain him exemption. If he be a man against whom there is nothing whatever to be said, and the only reason for retaining him is simply that you think he may add to this country's wealth, it is not on the ground of justice. Nothing of the sort; it is on the ground of some fancied profit to this country. If you remove the question of his industrial and technical skill he is to be thrown out of the country, however sound and honest he may be; but add to it not that he may be engaged perfectly usefully in some useful industry, but is possessed of some technical skill as an engineer or electrician, and you grant him exemption. You don't profess to grant exemption on a ground which, in my opinion, is the highest of all qualities, namely, that of education. That is to my mind one of the strongest things connected with this Bill.
The noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, pointed out when the Bill was under discussion on the Second Reading that there were, I think, 8,000 Austrians here. He pointed out that there was an excess of men over women, due, I fancy, to the fact that included in the numbers are those who have been released from internment. Apart from that I think you will find that the numbers are pretty nearly equal. Now there are many of those Austrians engaged in what, after all, is not an ignoble or useless occupation—namely, teaching foreign languages in our schools. Is this House going to say that this country cannot stand having what after all is a noble language, with a noble literature, taught in our schools, because the person who teaches it is a former enemy alien? And are we to be compelled to have this language taught us in the future by people who know nothing about it.? Or are we not to learn it at all? There is no exemption for these people. They are mostly young governesses. You would have to come and make a special case for them, and unless you are able to make a case allied to the special particularised circumstances into which these grounds are divided, you could not make your case at all. It is certain that the committee would take that view, and take it rightly. They would say that Parliament has afforded them the standard by which they are to judge these cases, and they must follow that standard. So these 771 people are to be thrust out of this country.
I pass by for a moment the Germans, because after all feeling is and must be strong with regard to what the Germans did, and feelings may cloud our judgment in their case. I ask your Lordships, however, to consider these 8,000 Austrians, who are equally embraced in this clause. I say that during the whole of the war I never remember any charge of cruelty or atrocity or ill-treatment, either of returned prisoners of war or of interned civilians, by the Austrians, and indeed one heard almost extraordinary accounts of the liberality and generosity with which the Austrians treated our people when within their shores. There was none of the bitter feeling between ourselves and Austria which there was between ourselves and Germany, and yet these people are to be sent back. What are they to be sent back to.? The Times of yesterday, or the day before, contained a statement by Sir William Goode, head of the English Mission, as to life in Vienna, where children are dying like flies of hunger, and where he said he had to pay nearly £40 for a room and light to keep himself warm one morning; where all industrial life is destroyed; and where famine and disease are slowly creeping over one of the gayest cities in Europe, and the people in cold and hunger are expiating the follies and crimes of their rulers. That is the country to which these people are to go back; and what have they done that they should be compelled to go back there, unless they can establish to the satisfaction of the tribunal that they come within one of these categories specified in the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord. The Amendment of the noble and learned Lord is this, that if there be any man inflamed even with the most unreasonable and unwise suspicion, and then there is any person of alien birth in this country against whom there is nothing even to be suspected, the former can send in a statement making a charge against the latter—and a statement that is privileged—and then the person so named has to come and answer to the charge. He has to show that the charge is not true and is perfectly worthless. He has to justify himself before the Committee. Otherwise he must go. They do not ask for a Police Report or a Report from anybody who has any qualification to speak. Anybody is at liberty to make a charge and when charged the person 772 charged is bound to come before the Committee and is compelled to justify himself or will be removed from the country.
If it is protection which we seek, I say that the provision of the noble Lord (Lord Newton) is abundant protection. If it be not, I am certain that I should speak with his consent when I say, Then make your protection even more secure. Nobody desires to see that this country shall have in her armour any weak spot due to the presence of disaffected people who ought not to be here; but we know perfectly well that these are people who have passed through one complete comb—they have passed through the ordeal of one Committee and been examined by a second Committee —that the people left after those examinations are people against whom even their neighbours under the strain and agony of war could make no charge, otherwise they would have been interned; that they were left out just because five years' investigation, under all the severe tests of warfare in which the brutality of our enemies excited to a fever point the suspicion and just resentment of this country, proved no charge against them, and that there was no reason whatever why in time of war they should not be left at large.
Now times of peace have come round, and you are to summon servants from small homes and governesses from schools, and men and women from their tasks all over the country, and within two months they are to make application. There is to be no pity or power whatever of exemption after that time— nothing except a new Act of Parliament can enable these people to reside where for years they have resided without offence. I can never believe that another place ever understood the provisions of this Bill, and my reading of the debates confirm me with confidence in that belief. I only wish that it were within my power to make your Lordships understand what I regard as its real meaning. I feel bitterly about it. I regard it as a Bill the passage of which will do eternal shame and dishonour to our legislation, and I earnestly beg of your Lordships not to let it pass.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My noble and learned friend has used language of quite extraordinary heat in the concluding sentence of his speech. If it be indeed true that the effect of rejecting this Amendment will be to involve the House in dishonour— 773 I think that was the word he used of the action indicated by him—undoubtedly there is abundant reason why grave deliberation should be given to the vote which your Lordships will be asked to take; and in answer to a question that was put by the noble Lord, Lord Newton, I will say that it is the intention of the Government to allow or to invite the House to come to a decision without any activity on the part of the Whips.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
It is the desire of the Government that the House should reach its conclusion quite unaffected by any consideration for the Government, if indeed any such consideration was to be anticipated, and that it should reach that conclusion as a result of the discussion which has taken place and which will take place. I think it right to remind your Lordships, as I have the misfortune not to find myself in agreement with all the observations and arguments of my noble and learned friend, of what is sometimes forgotten—namely, that the policy of the then Government was very clearly declared to this House immediately before the last General Election by Lord Cave who, although he had become a member of your Lordships' House, continued for a short time to discharge the duties of Home Secretary. Lord Cave was invited in this House to explain the policy of the Government in relation to unnaturalised enemy aliens, and he gave the following reply, which was unchallenged by any member of this House: The policy of His Majesty's Government (he said) is this, that if any enemy alien can show something special in his own individual case which enables the authorities to say of him "This man ought to be allowed to stay contrary to the general rule which we lay down," he shall stay. Lord Cave added: But it is the policy of the Government that in the ordinary case, and where no such special ground of exemption can be urged, that aliens shall leave this country. As I have said, that policy may be a good one or a bad one; it may be one that can be justified by argument or that fails of justification; but it was at least plainly and clearly declared before the Election in this House, and it was not challenged by any of your Lordships.
Now I come to the merits of the controversy, and let us clearly define the 774 issues before we approach a conclusion. The issues presented equally by the Amendment of Lord Newton and by the Amendment of Lord Parmoor must be contrasted with the Amendment of Viscount Finlay, which the Government is prepared to accept. The two Amendments involve this that no enemy alien shall be compelled to leave this country under the terms of this Bill unless in his special case some complainant comes forward and calls attention to something in his antecedents which renders it undesirable that he should stay in this country. The Amendment of Viscount Finlay assents to the automatic exclusion under the terms of this Bill, but provides an extraordinarily wide range of grounds on which exemption may be given in an individual case. Such is the choice. It is between automatic exclusion and between the other case in which a specific charge is made against the individual. Such being the alternative, I have a few observations to make upon it.
I begin by pointing out that when we are told that these aliens whose case we are considering have undergone one test and one examination after another, that they have survived the inquiry and the examination of one Committee after another, I reply by pointing out that that is not in fact quite accurate. The only Committee which the persons whose case is now under consideration have encountered was the 1915 Committee. They did not come before the. 1918 Committee, and the 1919 Committee had hardly commenced its inquiry when the Armistice came. I am bound to point out that the standard, and the legitimate standard, which was employed in the year 1915 when that Committee sat, was a very different standard from the one which became necessary and which was applied in the later years. I think that I am entitled also to point out—
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I did not suppose that for a moment. But when the noble Marquess asks me what was the 775 standard which was applied in 1914 and 1915, I reply that it was the standard which any humane tribunal at that time thought a reasonable one to employ in the light of what we then knew both about the actual conduct of our enemies in the field and about the activity of the agents of our enemies in other countries. Our knowledge developed with every month of the war. It developed enormously as the years of the war went on. It is, I think, a sufficient answer to the question of the noble Marquess to say that by universal admission the severity of the standards applied had greatly increased between 1915 and 1918 as the national knowledge, conviction and resentment deepened.
I have said that there was a preliminary observation which required to be made. It is this. We are dealing here, and only dealing here, with the case of such enemy aliens as do not think it worth their while, or do not desire, to be naturalised in this country. We are not dealing with the case —a very different case—of those who come to reside in this country and say, "We have definitely made up our minds that we are going to throw in our lot with Great Britain, and therefore we shall become naturalised." Two explanations of this failure contingently present themselves. Either these persons intended that their stay in this country should be a temporary one or they did not. If they intended that their stay should be a temporary one, it is not particularly obvious that they suffer a great hardship if they are obliged under the circumstances of this war to bring a temporary stay to a close. If, on the other hand, they intended that their stay in this country should be a permanent one, and yet do not form a sufficient attachment for this country to take the necessary steps to obtain naturalisation themselves, it is difficult to see that there is any very good reason for desiring that they should be allowed exemption from the terms of this Bill.
But when the noble and learned Lord says that these are innocent persons, when he assumes from the failure to bring against them any specific charge that these are persons whom we are bound to treat in the same way that we would treat any persons who belonged to a different country, I say plainly that I do not accept that view. I heard in the debate on the Second Reading a great deal of admonition from Lord Newton, and of advice (to which 776 everyone must listen with the most profound respect) from the most rev. Primate to the effect that we ought to feel good-will towards the German nation, and that in the days that lie immediately in front of us we are under some kind of duty to exhibit the quality of good-will to the German nation. I do not in the least agree with that view. I may be extremely heretical, but I ask myself certain plain questions. If it were true of the German nation, as my noble and learned friend has told us—I shall have a word to say about that in a moment—if it were true of the Austrian nation, that they were involved in this war by their rulers against the will of the nation, one might indeed feel compassion arising in one's mind for a people who have been involved in sufferings so terrible by the guilty decisions of others. Does the noble Lord or anyone else think that this was the case with the German nation? We all know that the whole German people welcomed and acclaimed this war as long as they thought it would bring them success and all that previous wars had brought them. We know of the outbreak of national exultation and delight which greeted the declaration of war in August, 1914. We know this also—if we are going to speak perfectly plainly—that there had been in progress in Germany for three or four years before the war a compaign the object of which was directed against the policy and against the citizens of this country, so that those who travelled in Germany during that period, if they were English people, could hardly do so without antagonism and hostility being displayed towards them, except by those who had some motive for concealing their real feelings in relation to their visitor.
I therefore say plainly that I have not the slightest good will for the German nation, and I think it extremely unlikely that any such feeling of good will will grow upon me in the time which lies immediately in front of us. I cannot help taking the view that I am not guilty, when I say this, of giving utterance to a sentiment which is either unnatural, inhuman, or even un-Christian. If we were to test it by the conduct of noble Lords, if a noble Lord were going to-night to a dinner-party for social purposes and he were informed that a man of the type that we know as a typical German would be present, is there one who would not cancel his engagement?
777 Such has been the experience of the five years through which we have just passed, that we do not desire social intercourse with these people. If that is true, do not let us be guilty of the intentional hypocrisy of using with our lips phrases which have no correspondence with the feelings of our hearts—talking of good will towards them when we have no good will now, and when we cannot expect to generate good will in the future. Late in the war, and with the full knowledge that they were destroying a hospital ship— advertised by every conspicuous means at our disposal that it was full of wounded soldiers and of devoted nurses— they torpedoed that boat in the middle of the Channel, blazing as it was with lights, and almost every one on board perished. I remember Mr. Arthur Balfour, in a phrase which carried my approval then and which carries it now, then saying, "Beasts they were, and beasts they remain." I add to this that what is taking place at this very moment before our eyes, when they are attempting by every means in their power to repudiate the terms to which they have already agreed in relation to the Peace, when, having plainly said that they had no responsibility at all for the sinking of their batleships at Scapa Flow, we discovered the whole instructions given by them to the Admiral which resulted in the destruction of those vessels —I add to Mr. Balfour's epigram, that from the first moment of the war liars they were and liars they have been throughout the whole course of the war. Speaking for myself I do not like a man who can be described by a reasonable person as a beast and a liar, even if he is an Englishman, and I see no reason why I should like him if he is a German.
Therefore if it is recommended to me, by persons for whom I have the deepest possible respect, that I should feel good will for Germans, I say once again that I decline to approach this decision with the slightest feeling that I owe them any good will. I owe them only what the interests and the reputation and the honour of this country, adequately considered, dictate. Let me then approach it from that point of view. First of all as to the interests of this country, I am unable to see that they are in any way advanced by the continued residence here of those who have come in the circumstances of the class now under consideration. If the interests in this country in any event require it, then the schedule of conditions exhibited by the 778 Amendment of my noble and learned friend Viscount Finlay ensures abundantly that any such person shall be allowed to remain. I have nothing to add to this general statement. How then does it stand in relation to the honour of this country? That was the most powerful appeal made by the noble and learned Lord. If he can satisfy me that the traditional and immemorial reputation of this country for fair dealing towards foreigners requires that we shall allow them to stay, I would undoubtedly assent to the Motion which is now under discussion. Is it true that the honour or the reputation of this country requires it? Let us examine the thing, if we can, dispassionately for the moment. What has happened? In the light of what knowledge and of what experience do we appproach this question? It is notorious that this country never dreamt of war; that in August of 1914 we would have made every effort consistent with our honour to avoid that war. It is equally notorious that the war was deliberately forced upon us by the German nation. What have been the results? Our debates day by day bear witness to them. The brilliant youth of this country has perished, and the country has been reduced to an economic condition which will last all our lives and which will affect the lives of your Lordships' sons in future generations. All that has happened by reason of the deliberate act of the whole nation.
Why does the honour of a country—a country which has lost its young men and whose economic future has been mortgaged for generations—demand that we should allow to stay here members of that nation whom, according to my view, most of us do not want here —why does the honour of this country require that we should keep them here? I can understand an argument founded on the view that the material interests of this country require them; but why does the honour of this country require them? The honour of this country can be involved only if it is established that we owe some debt to this nation or to these particular individuals. That we do not owe any debt to this nation I hope has been abundantly proved by the observations I have already made. Do we then owe any obligation to these particular individuals? It is not pretended that they carne here at the request of the British Government; it is not pretended that they came here except in pursuance of their own individual 779 interests. Why then does the honour of the country require that we should allow them, in the light of all that has happened, to remain here?
If it is said that considerations of humanity require it, then I ask your Lordships before voting upon this to consider very carefully indeed what are the conditions under which Viscount Finlay's Amendment will allow them to remain here When their cases are individually considered, and then we shall see whether Viscount Finlay's Amendment is one which can be indicted upon the grounds of inhumanity. The following are the points upon which exemption from deportation may be granted. First, "Old age." As I have said, it is proposed to adopt Viscount Finlay's Amendment entirely, and the adoption is largely in order to meet the well-founded verbal criticisms of the noble and learned Lord on the Second Reading debate with the hope at the same time that some additions have been made in the list which, I think, were not commented upon by the noble and learned Lord. The second point is, "Permanent illness or infirmity." The third is "Service during the recent war (whether by the applicant or by any an son of the applicant) in His Majesty's forces or the forces of any Allied or Associated Power." The next is, "Residence in His Majesty's Dominions either from early youth or for a long period." The next is, "Valuable personal service to this country or any part of the British Dominiors or to any Allied or Associated Power during the recent war." The next is, "The possession of valuable technical or industrial skill."
Perhaps I might interrupt this recital for the moment to make an observation upon the point urged by my noble and learned friend with reference to the last-named particular ground of exemption. I am not able to agree with the contempt which he expressed. I have shown, or attempted to show, the reason for the view that the honour of this country is not involved when you are dealing with a man who has no claim upon your honour that you should keep him. I really fail to understand why it is not a perfectly defensible proceeding to say we are under no obligation to keep this man at all, but if this individual man chooses to stay because he can make a good contribution we will allow him to stay. You cannot, of course, advance that argument if you are putting 780 it on the ground that you must establish a moral charge against the individual. In my view it would have been illogical to make this exception if you were adopting the principle for which the noble and learned Lord contends that in every individual case you, must establish some moral defect, but there is no lack of logic at all in my argument in adhering to that test when the view upon which you proceed is that prima facie every alien goes unless there is sonic special reason in his own case that makes it reasonable that he should stay. The criticism would have much weight if the Amendment were carried.
The next ground is "Proved sympathy with the cause of the Allies." I ask your Lordships very carefully to consider the extraordinary breadth of the language of the next category, "The fact that deportation would involve either (i) serious hardship to the applicant or his wife, children, or dependants, or (ii) injury to any British interest." Then you have the case referred to by the noble and learned Lord, "The fact that the mother of the applicant was a natural-born British subject." I say quite plainly that I cannot think of a case which would not come under one of the categories (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), or (g), or the extraordinarily wide words of (h), which is a case that would deserve, or ought to receive, the slightest consideration at your Lordships' hands. I submit for the consideration of this Committee that, if an alien enemy cannot show that he comes under one or other of the heads that are contained in Viscount Finlay's Amendment, no case whatever has been made out for the contention that such persons are entitled to stay in this country. Your Lordships have at least a very simple issue. I have not pretended, and I do not pretend, that I share the sentimental feeling of attachment, good will, or affection which, it is contended, either does exist or ought to exist in the bosoms of some of us. I have made it plain that I do not. The only issue here is whether such enemy aliens, unnaturalised, as have come to this country ought not to go unless he or she shows a special reason entitling him or her to stay.
A case can be made for distinguishing between the Germans and the Austrians. No Amendment has been put down which has the object of establishing such a distinction. The noble and learned Lord said that the Austrians have not been guilty of 781 outrage against the citizens of this country in the course of the war. The admission implicit in the use of that argument that the existence of outrage in the course of the war is a reason that can be taken into account in a matter of this kind reacts fatally upon the case which is attempted to be made on behalf of the Germans. If it is relevant to consider on behalf of the Austrians that they have not been guilty of outrage it would appear to be at least equally relevant to consider what has been the war record of the Germans. If anybody chooses to put down an Amendment which draws a distinction between the Germans and the Austrians, though I have not given consideration to it up to this moment, it is a distinction which would at least receive consideration. I have made these observations to the Committee which, as I have said, will arrive at a conclusion in reliance upon the views of each individual Member, because I thought it right, in view of the powerful speeches which have been made on behalf of that point of view in this debate, that I should make it quite plain that I do not share them, and that I have not modified my own impressions.
§ VISCOUNT FINLAY
I do not rise, of course, to deal in any detai1 with the Amendment which stands in my name. I rise for one specific purpose, and it is to advert to the terms of the sort of indictment of that clause which my noble friend Lord Buckmaster delivered to the Committee. He drew a moving picture of the hardships which might be inflicted in individual cases by putting in force the provisions of the Act, as they would stand even if the Amendment I am addressing to you were incorporated in it. But I cannot help thinking that my noble and learned friend had not at that time had his attention directed to head (h).
§ LORD BUCKMASTER
I referred to it, and I thought I made myself plain. I said that when you come to consider the case of serious hardship under paragraph (h) the Committee would regard themselves constrained by the special instances which were provided in the other clauses.
§ VISCOUNT FINLAY
I am very sorry if I misunderstood my noble and learned friend, but I cannot help thinking that the apprehension expressed by him now is absolutely unfounded. I cannot imagine how the Committee should think, when 782 there are nine different grounds, one of which is special hardship, that unless they can find some other ground they cannot act on the ground of serious hardship. How is it possible? I am sure that my noble and learned friend in another capacity would never take such a view of a clause. You have got old age, illness, service in this country's army or in the armies of the Allies, residence from early youth or a long period in this country, personal service to this country, technical skill, proved sympathy in the cause of the Allies, the fact that the mother of the applicant was a natural-born British subject, and then, as an independent head, the fact that deportation would involve serious hardship to the applicant, or his wife, children, or dependants. I say without any fear of contradiction from my noble and learned friend on consideration that, if you had serious hardship, that by itself would be a ground, and I say it is perfectly impossible to read the clause in any other way. How could you say it was necessary to prove the possession of technical skill in addition to serious hardship, or to prove valuable service to this country? It is an independent ground, and any one of these grounds is a ground upon which the Committee may act. I am sorry that I supposed my noble and learned friend had overlooked the existence of (h), but I think the comment which he has made upon (h) now and which represents, he says, what he said before, shows that he has not in the slightest degree appreciated the significance of it. He sees innumerable hardships in individual cases. Well, I say that the existence of serious hardship in any individual case is a ground on which the Committee may act.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LINCOLNSHIRE
The Lord Chancellor told us that we were on a very simple issue. Well, so we were, but it seems to me that the Committee has got rather into a tangle, because we are not discussing only the Amendment of Lord Newton but there are two other Amendments which have been thrown into the melting pot, which are not before the House, and the matter is not simplified by the speech of the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Finlay, who was speaking, as I understood, on an Amendment which we have not yet reached. We have heard a great deal, too, about the honour and reputation of the country. So far as 783 I understood my noble and learned friend behind me, what he meant was that the honour and reputation of the country require that we should protect our country and at the same time avoid, if possible, the suspicion of injustice and cruelty.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LINCOLNSHIRE
I believe that is what he meant to convey and did convey in clear and forcible language. I have had very strong ideas on the alien question, but, having listened to the speeches of Lord Newton and of my noble and learned friend behind me on the Amendment, I do not see that those of us who feel very strongly on the subject can have any possible difficulty in voting for the Amendment. In saying that, I beg most distinctly to dissociate myself from the speech of the noble Lord opposite, Lord Newton, on the Second Reading. I listened to that speech with considerable pain and regret, as his was the only speech during that debate to which we could take any exception. We did not agree with my noble and learned friend Lord Parmoor, or with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Phillimore, but there was nothing in their speeches to which exception could be taken, and I very much regret some of the expressions used by Lord Newton on that occasion. I have them all marked here, but I will not refer to them.
The simple issue before us is the Amendment moved by Lord Newton, and as we understand that the whips are taken off, so that every member of the House can vote as it seems good in his own eyes, I am pleased to be able to say that, though feeling as strongly as I do on the alien question, I shall be able to record my vote in favour of the noble Lord's Amendment. I understand from the clear and concise statement of my noble and learned friend behind me that this Amendment gives complete protection against undesirable aliens and, at the same time, avoids the reproach of dealing unfairly with men and women against whom nothing can be proved. In these circumstances I think we can most conscientiously vote for the Amendment.
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
The noble and learned Lord opposite, the Lord Chancellor, stated at the beginning of his speech that the policy of the Bill as it stands, 784 or of the Amendment which His Majesty's Government propose to accept, to be moved by the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Finlay, is that which was clearly stated by Lord Cave last autumn; that policy being that all former enemy aliens should be asked, or made, to leave the country unless they can show cause why they should be permitted to remain. But it is reasonable, I think, to point out that, if that is so, that policy was not embodied in the Bill as introduced in another place. This clause which we are now discussing was, as we all know, introduced there not at the instance of His Majesty's Government, although they have now adopted it, not merely with acquiescence but apparently with warm affection.
I have always held—and I have said so a dozen times when we have been discussing this and kindred questions—that it is impossible to do justice and at the same time to protect the interests of this country, without inquiring into individual cases; that it is not possible to invent, with however great an ingenuity and as a result of whatever experience, categories of persons who can be exempted. Even those categories which naturally excite our greatest sympathy may include persons who ought not to be allowed to remain. That, I think, is admitted in the terms of the Bill by suggesting that "The Committee may, unless satisfied by reports from the Naval, Military, Air Force or Police Authorities that there is good reason to the contrary, recommend the exemption." It is quite conceivable, for instance, that a man whose son has served in H.M. Forces might be a dangerous element in this country and ought not to be allowed to remain. It by no means follows that, in all such cases, the parent ought to receive the credit of the son's action. On the other hand, it is surely not a very acceptable suggestion that a man who has actually served himself in H.M. Forces should be compelled to come in an abject attitude to ask to be allowed to remain in this country. That indicates, as I venture to think, the extreme difficulty of composing categories of this kind.
The noble and learned Viscount, Lord Finlay, answered my noble friend behind me by saying that his category (h), by which people could be excused from deportation on the ground of a serious hardship, involves a distinct category of its own. I think that is not quite the 785 case, because a considerable number of the previous headings—(a), (b), (d), and (g), etc.—would all come under the heading of "serious hardship." If the noble and learned Lord's contention is correct he might shorten his categories to a great extent. But neither the noble and learned Viscount nor the Lord Chancellor touched on the particular case which was mentioned by my noble and learned friend behind me—that of a great number of teachers of foreign birth who would scarcely, as it appears, fall under the head of any one of the headings suggested by the noble and learned Viscount.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
If the noble Marquess will forgive me, I should have thought that if an educational disadvantage followed, as presumably it would follow, their withdrawal, that disadvantage would certainly be an injury to a British interest.
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
I am glad to hear the noble and learned Lord say so, but I confess it would not have appeared at first sight that the tribunal would feel itself called upon to take such a view as that. But there, again, the difficulties of inventing categories at all come to the surface. What is the objection to the proposal of Lord Newton that upon any kind of complaint being lodged by any person of credit the case should be inquired into, but not otherwise? The Lord Chancellor spoke at some length of the past atrocities of Germany, and generally speaking we all take the same view of that dreadful past. But even what the Lord Chancellor so eloquently said did not appear to have any real bearing on the particular Amendment we are considering. The persons who are involved, or likely to be involved, under this Bill had nothing to do with the sinking of the "Lusitania" or the shooting of Captain Fryatt; and some of them may have loathed these crimes. Although the Lord Chancellor's words evoked an obvious sympathy in your Lordships' House I can hardly believe, when it comes to the cool choice between these two different processes—the one of inquiring into the case where there is any atom of suspicion, and the other of obliging very large numbers of quite decent people to come and clear their characters when no charge is made against them—that the particular appeal made by the Lord Chancellor is likely to influence your Lordships' votes to any great extent.
786 Nobody, I am sure, asks the Lord Chancellor to embark on an attempt to feel more good will to Germany than he is able; and, like him, a large number of your Lordships, no doubt, do not desire to meet Germans on social occasions. However, that may be as you please, but it seems to me to have little bearing on the particular question at issue, and I hope that your Lordships will coolly consider it on the single point whether it is really necessary in the interests of this country that all persons, men and women of all ages, should be compelled to come individually within two months, under penalty of losing their chance altogether, and clear their characters, though no aspersion is made against them; or whether, in all the interests of this country which we have at heart just as much as those on the Government side, it will not suffice that if any charge, however slight, is brought against an individual, it shall be inquired into by an accredited tribunal.
§ VISCOUNT CAVE
I should like to remove what, I think, is a misconception. Reference has been made, both by the Lord Chancellor and by the noble Marquess who has just spoken, to a speech which I delivered in this House in November, 1918, and both noble lords are under the impression that my speech referred to the persons who are dealt with by this clause. That is a mistake. My statement was confined entirely to interned enemy aliens, and I said that they would all be deported unless they made out a special case for being allowed to remain in this country. It was a statement on behalf of the Government of that day, and that pledge has, I believe, been entirely carried out. Therefore I am quite free to hold and express my own opinion on this particular Amendment.
I want to make clear what the Amendment is. We are not now considering whether there shall or shall not be categories of exemption or what these categories shall be. That is the subject of a later Amendment which the House will be perfectly free to deal with. I can quite conceive that some noble Lords may not be satisfied even with the list of categories in the Amendment of Viscount Finlay. They may consider that no categories are needed, and may prefer to leave the matter open to the discretion of the Advisory Committee. It would be open for your Lordships to do that if this Amendment were not carried. Nor are 787 we considering whether the recommendation of this or that Advisory Committee shall have effect. That also is the subject of a different Amendment.
The only point raised by this Amendment, I am sure Lord Newton will agree with me, is this, Shall a former enemy alien who comes within the clause be allowed to remain unless some one makes a representation about him, or shall it be the duty of such a man himself to apply for exemption. That is really the only point. Will noble Lords consider who the persons are with whom the clause deals? It does not deal with any one of the thousands of enemy aliens who have been exempted by the Secretary of State from internment or repatriation on the recommendation of some Committee. They are, of course, the great majority of enemy aliens now in this country. The clause deals only with those who have not been so recommended.
§ VISCOUNT CAVE
Those who have not been interned or recommended for exemption by a Committee named in the later part of the clause. I will assume that the question of which Committee it is to be is open for discussion, because if a later Amendment is carried the exemptions recommended by the Committee of 1915 would be equally effective. Apart from these, the only persons affected by the clause are those who have been refused exemption by these Committees or have not applied for exemption.
§ LORD BUCKMASTER
A person who has been refused exemption by any Committee has been repatriated. He is not in this clause at all.
§ VISCOUNT CAVE
He should, of course, have been repatriated, but by chance he may be in prison. I agree that the number is negligible. Therefore it is only persons who have not applied for exemption who are covered by this clause. Just consider. It will not affect anybody exempted on the advice of an Advisory Committee. As the Bill stands, I know that this is only the last Committee; but, as I pointed out before, the question which Committee is to be named in the Bill is open for discussion later, and I am assuming for the purpose of argument that the Committee ultimately named in the Bill will be "any 788 Committee." If your Lordships will assume that to be determined later, then I am right that the persons to be affected by the clause are those who have not applied, and I think the burden should be on them to make the application. I do not think it is right to expect a British subject to make the attack upon them, to go and search them out, and to make representations against them to the Secretary of State. I think they should be called upon to make application themselves. You may say that the time allowed is too short—that is a matter of detail— but subject to these matters, some of which are important I agree, I am convinced that the. Bill is better framed than the Amendment, and that these persons should be called upon to make application themselves, and I cannot support the Amendment.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Will the noble Viscount explain how what he has said applies to women, because they were not interned.
§ VISCOUNT CAVE
Not if they were exempted from repatriation on the advice of some Committee, as indeed many thousands of them were. May I make myself quite clear? The women were dealt with, just as the men were dealt with, but the rule was that the men should be interned unless exempted, and that the women should be deported unless exempted from deportation. Therefore every woman, like every man, had to go before a Committee and apply for exemption, only in her case it was exemption from deportation instead of from internment. Women who have made application and succeeded certainly ought not to come within this clause.
§ LORD PARMOOR
I should like to say a word or two—though I am not now discussing my own Amendment—especially with regard to what has been said by the noble and learned Viscount. He has said that in his view a distinction might be drawn between those who have applied to some Committee and those who have never made application at all. If we take that distinction for a moment, those who 789 have not applied to any Committee are, we were told by the noble Earl to-night, a very small number indeed, and comparatively unimportant; whereas those who have applied to some Committee, and have obtained exemption, in the aggregate include practically all the men or women with whom we are now dealing. The noble and learned Viscount has pointed to my Amendment. My Amendment would exempt any persons who have been exempted on the recommendation of any Advisory Committee. The most important of these Advisory Committees dealing with this subject matter was the Committee of 1915, and if I might for a moment adopt what the Lord Chancellor said—although as he knows I do not agree with him on many of the topics which he dealt with—he said the test there was the standard of a humane tribunal during the war. Surely, if you take the test of the standard of a humane tribunal during the war you may take the standard of a humane tribunal after the war has ceased, because it is clear that the conditions when war has ceased are likely to be more favourable than those applied during war.
My difficulty is this. One wants to get to a business proposition if one can, apart from the use of harsh terms or phrases. If I thought that the clause would eventuate that every one who has been exempted from internment or repatriation on the recommendation of an Advisory Committee —that in all those cases the onus, as I think it ought properly to be, is where it has been placed by the Amendment of Lord Newton, I think that ought to go a long way to meet the various questions raised during the discussion; but if Lord Newton's Amendment is negatived, and my Amendment is then negatived, then the whole objection would immediately arise, because you place every one in the position of the onus being thrown upon them, although, according to the view of the noble and learned Viscount, whose authority every one recognises, in the vast majority of cases included in the Amendment the onus should properly be upon the accuser and not upon the person to be exempted. I am glad to see the noble Viscount nod his head. It is a very important matter indeed. I hope we shall get away from phrases—I think the Lord Chancellor used some rather unfortunate ones.
What do we mean? We want protection of national interests on the one side—fair 790 safeguards and protection—and on the other side justice. That is what the noble and learned Lord meant by the honour of the country—justice to these enemy aliens. How are we to reconcile those two points of view? I will not deal with good will or co-operation, but I think we shall not get it if we approach the problem in too antagonistic a spirit. In one sense the more we may dislike people the higher is our standard of justice, and I think that is the case with regard to these aliens. Can it really be suggested that any national safeguard or protection is required if in the case of aliens who have already been exempted by a trained Advisory Committee you put the onus upon the people who bring an action against them. That is the simple, matter, and I earnestly support the Amendment of the noble Lord, but at the same time if it is not carried I hope to get further strength in support of my later Amendment, and I hope that I shall have a powerful auxiliary in Lord Cave, who has had so large an experience in this matter and who presided over the Home Office for a considerable time.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I only rise to ask a question of the Government, in order that your Lordships should not be put in some confusion by the decision which is about to be taken. We are much indebted to Lord Cave for his speech. What it really came to is this, that if Lord Parmoor's Amendment were carried then very much the same thing would be achieved as if we succeeded in carrying Lord Newton's Amendment. Practically speaking, all the persons whom we feel ought to be treated with compassion by your Lordships' House will be treated with compassion if Lord Parmoor's Amendment is carried. Then it becomes vital to know what attitude the Government take on Lord Parmoor's Amendment. If the noble and learned Lord wishes to speak I will give way at once.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I only wish to say that Lord Parmoor's Amendment raises the issue as to the necessity for coming forward and obtaining the right to stay, and only those aliens being compelled to come forward against whom a specific charge is made, and the attitude of the Government is the same in relation to both Amendments. We prefer and recommend Viscount Finlay's.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Your Lordships will see what the situation is, 791 that notwithstanding the valuable intervention of the noble and learned Viscount we are driven to make a decision as between the Government's case and the case put forward by Lord Newton. I only speak for myself, and I do not intend to detain your Lordships for more than a few seconds. I shall feel bound to support Lord Newton in the Lobby under these circumstances. I would rather have gone with the noble and learned Viscount if that had been open to us, but the attitude of the Government makes that impossible. I, therefore, feel it my duty under the circumstances to support Lord Newton, and I can state my reason for so doing almost in a single sentence. The whole question of the safety of the country by the presence of the enemy aliens in it has not really formed part of the debate this evening. The noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, did not dwell upon it. His whole case was that the country was entitled to the vindication of its position and the punishment of these enemy aliens for the crimes of their country. That was his case. I do not know how far we ought to go in that respect, but when I think of the sort of people that the Government propose to send back to Germany and Austria under these circumstances, I confess that my heart quails.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Have the Government realised what the condition of Central Europe is? I read only to-day an account of the condition of things in Austria. The sending back of these women to Austria would really be sending them back to starvation and nothing else. Surely we cannot ask your Lordships to punish these unoffending persons to that extent. I know that my noble and learned friend, Viscount Finlay, proposes a much better clause than exists in the. Bill, but unless his words about hardship would really exempt all these poor people it would mean sending them back to starve in Austria. I cannot think his words would go so far as that, otherwise the whole thing becomes unmeaning. Unless his words protecting the people who would be exposed to hardship are sufficient to go to that length, then I say that we are driven hack upon this, that we are asked by the clause as it stands, and as the Lord Chancellor is now defending it, to send these people back to a condition of things which I am 792 perfectly certain your Lordships would shrink from in horror. I hope that I have not said anything too strong. I did not intend to do so, but I cannot reconcile myself to that position, and I shall be obliged to support Lord Newton in the Lobby.
When I listened to the speech of the noble and learned Lord opposite (the Lord Chancellor), and particularly to the impassioned portion of it, reminding us as it did of some of the more ebullient periods of the Election, I think that I was able to understand almost for the first time the sort of atmosphere and the sort of state of mind in which some of the clauses of this Bill had their origin, and particularly this Clause 9. Did not the noble and learned Lord in what he then said prove too much for his case? His case, surely, founded on the arguments he then used, was the case of "Sack the lot," words which we have seen used in another connotation. But he immediately proceeded, after stating that the policy of the Government was that it was sharply differentiated from the policy of Lord Newton's Amendment by being a policy of repatriating prima facie all aliens unless they showed some reason for stopping, not only to deal with the Government's own reasons for making exemptions (all given in the Bill) but to state that the Government were willing and ready, and apparently in view of the pressure of the discussion anxious, to accept the still further and wider reasons put upon the Order Paper by Viscount Finlay.
But if the noble and learned Lord's case is such as he made out, why are there to be exemptions? I have not heard it stated in so many terms by any noble Lord in support of the Bill why these aliens are to be repatriated. Presumably the suggestion underlying it is that made by the noble and learned Lord on this side, that it is necessary for the protection of this country. If that be the real reason, is it to be believed that these aliens who have been resident in this country throughout the war, who have necessarily by the very fact of being enemy aliens been the object of police supervision and police consideration and police report, who have escaped all these reports without any arrest or any suspicion or any bringing before any Tribunal, who have in fact continued to live harmless lives—is it to be believed that this small remnant of aliens, consisting as apparently they do of 793 governesses and waiters and people of that sort, are a serious menace to the safety of this country?
I do not wish to use large words like the words used by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Buckmaster. I do not want to talk of the honour of this country being at stake. But is not our common sense at stake? Is not our reputation for ordinary John Bull horse sense rather at stake in this matter? I confess that I am ashamed not perhaps for reasons connected with our honour, to give a vote which would have it thought that I should sleep less quietly in case there was an unexpelled governess or waiter left in this country. What are the Government asking? They ask that these people against whom nothing has been discovered throughout the war should be automatically expelled unless you find an excuse. What does the Amendment ask? It asks that they should not be expelled unless at least some human being is found, however irresponsible, some member of the stall of the Daily Express, some member of the "hunting the alien party—"
Some credible person. I take it that if there is anything to be said, a police sergeant will be the natural credible person. All that the Amendment asks is that some one credible person should be found to make some accusation, however unsupported by evidence against any one of these aliens, and the moment that is made all this business of committee and examination and licence comes into force. Can we not sleep safely under that protection? Do we really want to have this clause generated in an aftermath of hatred, supported by arguments really, I think, of the most deplorable character put forward as the considered opinion of the British Parliament? We are a year away now from the Armistice. We are some way since the General Election. And we are considering this in the comparatively calm atmosphere of this House. I do appeal to your Lordships not to make us ridiculous.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.794
Page 5, line 23, after ("the") insert ("said") and leave out ("hereinafter mentioned").—(Lord Newton.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Amendment moved—
After subsection (2) insert the following new subsections:
(3) This section shall apply to any former enemy alien now in the United Kingdom not being a former enemy alien exempted from internment or repatriation on the recommendation of any Advisory Committee appointed after the first day of January nineteen hundred and eighteen and before the passing of this Act as to whom there shall be delivered to the Secretary of State within two months after the passing of this Act, a statement in writing signed by any credible person to the effect that the continued residence in the United Kingdom of that alien is, for reasons relating to the alien, undesirable in the public interest, and giving particulars of the allegations upon which such reasons are based.
(4) The Secretary of State shall refer all such statements to the said Advisory Committee, and the Committee shall thereupon require each alien affected to make to the Committee within one month, in a form prescribed by the Committee, an application to be allowed to remain in the. United Kingdom, stating the general grounds on which the application is based, and the answer of the alien to the allegations made in relation to him, and the Committee shall examine into such allegations and in the result may either:
(5) In granting a licence under this section, the Secretary of State may include in the licence the wife of the applicant and any child or children.
(6) A list of the persons to whom such licence is granted shall, as soon as may be, after the granting of time licence, be published in the Gazette.
(7) Any licence so granted may be at any time revoked by the Secretary of State.
(8) If such licence is not granted, or if, having been granted, it shall be revoked, the Secretary of State shall make an order (in this Act referred to as a Deportation Order) requiring the alien to leave the United Kingdom and thereafter to remain out of the United Kingdom for a
period of seven years after the passing of this Act. The Secretary of State may by a Deportation Order require the alien to return to the country of which he is a subject or citizen.
(9) The provisions of this section shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any other provisions of this Act or any Order in Council made thereunder.
(10) The Secretary of State shill appoint an Advisory Committee for the purpose of this section, consisting of a chairman and such other persons including members of both Houses of Parliament, as the Secretary of State may think fit.
(11) This section shall not apply to a woman who was at the time of her marriage a British subject.''—(Lord Newton.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY moved, after subsection (2), to insert the following subsections—
( ) A former enemy alien at one time, resident in the United Kingdom with a British-born wife or a British-born child or children under the age of sixteen still resident there shall have the privilege of applying to the Secretary of State within three months after the passing of this Act for permission to return to the United Kingdom. The Secretary of State shall ascertain whether the application of the alien is supported by his wife or by or on behalf of his child or children, if any, and if it is, it shall be referred to the said Advisory Committee who may, after inquiry, recommend that the application be refused, or, in any case in which it seems to them to be humane and right and in the interest of the wife or child or children and not to be contrary to the interest of the State so to do, may recommend that the application be acceded to on such terms and conditions (if any) as to the Committee may seem fitting.
( ) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any former enemy alien whose application shall have been acceded to as aforesaid and who shall return to the United Kingdom under permission granted by the Secretary of State in pursuance thereof.
§ The most rev. Primate said: The point I desire to raise is one which, I think, has not been covered by anything that has been said. It refers to the cases of those who have been deported, some of whom ought undoubtedly in my judgment to be allowed, on proper investigation showing that there is nothing amiss, to come back again. The kind of case I have before me is that of a man who, after being interned, was given the choice whether he would be deported or whether he would remain in internment with a view of having his case ultimately being considered. Many of those men were in very bad health, some were bewildered and frightened at the time, and a great many of them who undoubtedly would have been allowed to 796 remain, if their cases had gone before the Tribunal, accepted the alternative and went abroad. Some are in extreme distress abroad, while their wives and families in England are also in want though some of them are bravely struggling to carry on the work their husbands formerly did. I am not suggesting that these men should come back until their cases have been looked into; but it seems intolerable that they should remain abroad separated from their wives and families—which wives and families know nothing of Germany—and there should at least be power given in the Bill to have these cases considered. Under the Bill as it is at present, I believe it is impossible for such men to get leave to come back again, and all I suggest is that they should have an opportunity of submitting their cases to a proper tribunal and, if the tribunal decides in their favour, that they should be allowed to return by the leave of the Secretary of State.
Amendment moved —
Insert the said subsections.—(The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.)
THE EARL OF ONSLOW
May I suggest, with great respect to the most rev. Primate, that this clause is not the one to which the Amendment is quite appropriate. The clause on which we now are deals with the return to this country of certain former enemy aliens who were here at one time but who have been repatriated voluntarily or compulsorily. Under the clause there is to be a general deportation of former enemy aliens unless they satisfy certain conditions, and it is appropriate to such a scheme that there should be an Advisory Committee to hear claims of exemption. In the other case there is no wholesale machinery. The former enemy alien who wishes to return to this country can apply for permission to so so, and permission can be given by the Home Secretary if he thinks right. That is a piece of every-day administration, and I suggest that an Advisory Committee is hardly necessary. The decision as to the admission of aliens, whether former enemy aliens or otherwise, rests with the Home Secretary, and I would suggest that it is neither possible nor convenient to delegate this duty to an Advisory Committee. Perhaps the point might be met by an Amendment being brought up, on Report, which would enable the three months' limit to be relaxed in cases where the Home 797 Secretary is willing to grant admission under Clause 10 to a former enemy alien. Possibly that might meet the wishes of the most rev. Primate.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
I am afraid I have not, altogether followed the proposal of the noble Earl. As I understand it, Clause 10 refers to cases of temporary admission. What I want is that the man whose wife and family are still resident in this country, which man has had nothing against him —though he has had the misfortune to be rightly interned during the war—should not now be prohibited from making his permanent residence in this country, which he cannot do under the Bill as it now stands if the noble Earl means that the temporary character of Clause 10 will be removed, and that the Secretary of State has the power to re-admit a man, I have no objection.
THE EARL OF ONSLOW
If you take away the three months limit, that would enable the Secretary of State to admit such persons.
§ LORD BUCKMASTER
That people situate as those must be to whom the most rev. Primate refers in this Amendment might have the power of coming back to this country is a thing which I think must appeal to many of your Lordships. These are obviously cases referring to matters that are made known to him in the discharge of the great duties which bring him into contact with so much of the suffering and unhappiness of the world. In those circumstances, I think that something of the kind should appear in the Bill, because, if you do not put it in the Bill, first of all no one over there has the knowledge that such an application may be considered; and, secondly, you have no direction given with the authority of an Act of Parliament instructing the Secretary of State how he ought to act.
I think the proposal of the most rev. Primate that you should have a Committee is the better one. If the number of cases is small, it means only that there is so much the less work for the Committee to do. If the number of cases is large, it means that the Secretary of State is relieved from a great deal of work. I do not see any reason why there should be an objection to the Committee; and if there be no objection to it and if the Amendment 798 itself deals with real cases of hardship—which it is not necessary in the interests of former enemy aliens but in the interests of English women and English-born children we should desire to relieve—then I would ask your Lordships to give a most favourable consideration to the Amendment which the most rev. Primate has moved.
§ LORD PHILLIMORE
I have had a most pathetic case laid before me by well approved persons, neighbours of mine, and people whom I know, municipal authorities and so on. It is a case of greatest; hardship. Original letters have been sent to me, touching almost to tears —letters of affection between the man and his wife—a man who has left this country, who was for a time interned, and then finally elected on the whole to go back to Germany, who has been nearly starved there, and who is miserable and desires to come back to his wife, and the wife is in the agony of either having to take herself and her children to a country where she is not known and where she will be hated, and where her children will be hated, to say nothing of the risk of being starved—because, after all, if it is a question of short commons those will come off worst who have not been in Germany all through the war, who are new corners, and who are wholly or half English. She has the alternative of that at this moment or of separating herself from her husband for an indefinite period. I do not know that the way in which the most rev. Prelate has introduced this may be the most shipshape way of putting it into the Bill, but either now or upon Report I hope your Lordships will adopt some such change.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
The observation made by my noble and learned friend, that if the British-born wife and children in the case supposed were to leave this country and go to Germany they would both be hated everywhere in that country, seems perhaps to supply an object lesson in that reciprocity of sentiment which we are invited to encourage. But I do not desire to pursue that topic further, because this is an Amendment which on its merits has always made an appeal, and indeed, my noble and learned friend who spoke first for the Government upon it indicated quite clearly that it was a case which in one form or another the Government were prepared to meet. I do not think that the most rev. Primate has considered quite 799 carefully enough what is the appropriate place in the Bill, nor, indeed, do I think that his language is throughout altogether above criticism; but perhaps he will be content with the indication of agreement that I have given, and will take the opportunity between this stage and the Report stage of discussing the terms with me.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Page 6, line 19, after ("eighteen") insert ("and such inclusion shall, notwithstanding anything in this section, have the same effect as the grant of a licence")
Page 6, line 26, leave out ("shall be") and insert ("is").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
Page 7, line 1, leave out sub-section (11).—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, after subsection (10), to insert—
This section shall not apply to any subject of the Ottoman Empire who holds a certificate issued by a police authority, or by or under the direction of the Secretary of State, granting exemption from any provisions of Part II of the Aliens Restriction Order applicable to alien enemies.
The noble and learned Lord said: The object of this Amendment is to exclude from the operation of the clause those subjects of the Ottoman Empire who, being opposed to the Turkish régime, were treated in the United Kingdom as alien friends during the war—Armenians,Syrians Arabs, Jews, and so on.
Page 7, after line 2, insert the said words. —(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 9, as amended, agreed to.800
§ Clause 10:
§ Admission of former enemy aliens.
§ 10.—(1) No former enemy alien shall for a period of three years after the passing of this Act be permitted to land in the United Kingdom either from the sea or from the air, or, if he should land without permission, to remain in the United Kingdom, without the permission of the Secretary of State, to be granted only on special grounds, and such permission shall be limited in duration to a period of three calendar months, and may upon special grounds be renewed from time to time for a like period.
§ (2) A list of the persons to whom permissions are so granted during each month shall be published in the London Gazette as soon as practicable after the end of each such month.
§ LORD PHILLIMORE moved, in subsection (1), to leave out from "United Kingdom," where those words secondly occur, to the end of the clause, and to insert "unless he is provided with a passport issued by a competent authority of his own country and bearing the visa of a British consul. Any question as to the genuineness, validity, or sufficiency of the passport or visa shall be determined by the Secretary of State."
§ The noble and learned Lord said: This Amendment has now taken a business shape. If it had not been for the acceptance by the Government of the proposal of the most rev. Primate I should have put it in another way. It is principally a business clause, but not entirely. I am thinking for the moment of an alien who suddenly gets notice that his sister or son is dying in this country, and has to wait till he gets permission from the Secretary of State before he can come here. Those people may be a comparatively small class, still they are worth considering.
§ But I turn from them to the business class, and I am going to use an argument which I see was used in another place, and, I am sorry to say, did not seem to have weight there—not as much weight as I hope it will have with your Lordships. I say that we want to do business with our former enemies. I say that hitherto, whenever we have had peace, it has always been followed by the treatment of our former enemies and by our former enemy as if we had ceased to be enemies, and, above all, we have carried on commerce with them. Now I ask how is commerce to be carried on if no former enemy alien for a period of three years after the passing of this Bill is to be permitted to land in this country 801 unless he has first sent over, and applied for, and got a permission from the Secretary of State. How is he to get it? How long is he to wait for it? I am afraid our notions of business in these matters will lead us to think he will wait very long. What is to happen if the business has entirely disappeared before he gets here? How, in fact, is the ordinary familiar bagman, the commercial traveller, to get over to this country?
§ This country is a place where the business of the world is done, and where a great deal not only of pure business but of science and art and social progress is provided for at conferences and congresses in this country. Is an eminent German astronomer who is coming to discuss the theory of Einstein to be required to get a permission from the Secretary of State before he comes here? Is some great artist, some great literary man, wishing to come to any gathering of savants or artists to require to get the permission of the Secretary of state? My substitute is that no former enemy alien is to be allowed to land unless he is provided with a passport issued by a competent authority in his own country, and bearing the visa of the British Consul, and I propose to make the Secretary of State the sole judge of whether the passport is a proper one, a sufficiently valid or genuine one, and of the visa also. I submit that in that way the country will be quite sufficiently protected, without stopping business by requiring the preliminary permission from the Secretary of State, and without putting upon eminent people who want to come to this country and to learn of this country, as we hope they will, the odium and inconvenience of having to apply beforehand for permission. Such a thing has never been known in the history of this country, which has been in many grievous troubles before, and I submit that the safeguards which I have proposed are sufficient.
Page 7, line 6, leave out from ("Kingdom") to the end of the clause and insert ("unless he is provided with a passport issued by a competent authority of his own country and bearing the visa of a British consul. Any question as to the genuineness, validity, or sufficiency of the passport or visa shall be determined by the Secretary of State").—(Lord Phillimore.)
THE EARL OF ONSLOW
I venture to observe that if the Amendment proposed by the noble and learned Lord were 802 accepted, the object of the clause would be defeated. The object and effect of the clause are to subject the former enemy alien to more stringent conditions than other aliens as regards landing in this country. Under the principal Act all aliens require leave to land and may be refused leave on certain conditions, administered by the immigration officers at the ports under the general instructions of the Home Secretary. Under Clause 10, which we are now discussing, former enemy aliens can land only with the permission of the Home Secretary given on special ground.
Every alien, therefore, coming into this country, whether friendly or enemy, must have a passport or a document establishing his nationality. If the Amendment is accepted, former enemy aliens and other aliens will be placed on exactly the same footing and that would defeat the object of the clause. The noble and learned Lord has referred to the inconvenience to distinguished visitors, bagmen and other persons in having to obtain the permission of the Home Secretary before they can enter this country, but I would venture to observe that the delay and difficulty which the noble, and learned Lord thinks may result are hardly very great, and if the object of the clause is to be maintained it must be preserved.
§ LORD PARMOOR
I should like to say a word in answer to the noble, Earl. I have a following Amendment which goes rather further than that proposed by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Phillimore. I am going to speak in support of the noble and learned Lord's Amendment, because I think it is better than my own, which, perhaps, goes too far. In answer to the noble Earl, I should like to say that it is quite true, as we all know, that all aliens require leave to land, under such precautions as are thought necessary. It cannot be suggested at the present time that there is anything like danger from former enemy aliens landing in this country during the next three years, unless it is intended to keep them out as regards business. To my mind there cannot be a greater misfortune for this country, or Europe in general, than not to allow industrial reconstruction and industrial inter-communication. I am at a loss to understand why you want to keep the former enemy alien out under special provision, except it be a matter of trade or industry. If that is so, you do not want 803 to put in a special protection, and I think, on every ground, it is a matter to be avoided.
§ LORD BUCKMASTER
I want to say only this on the clause. It seems to me, looking at this Bill, that "former enemy aliens" here must include a woman who, before her marriage, was a British subject. As the Bill was drawn, it will be observed that Clause 9, by express subsection, was made not to apply to a woman who at the time of her marriage was a British subject. No such exception is found in regard to Clause 10. Therefore, I think the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, would agree with me that, as there is nothing in the world to exempt a "former enemy alien'' from being a woman who was a British subject at the time of her marriage, she would be included.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
May I interrupt? I have an Amendment on the Paper on Clause 16. It is to add at the end: "Provided that the special provisions of this Act as to former enemy aliens, except the provisions of subsection (2) of section two of this Act, shall not apply to any woman who was at the time of her marriage a British subject." I think that meets the case.
§ LORD BUCKMASTER
I am very grateful to the noble and learned Lord. I am pleased to think that he has recognised the amazing imperfection of the Bill in its original form. I say no more about those people, but I think it is important to consider the other matter. I say nothing about the strain that may be done to people's feelings in entering into business relations with German subjects. That is a matter on which each trader must answer to himself. One thing, however, I do say, and it is this. It is no use, by artificial means, to maintain barriers. If there are traders who find that they can trade effectively and pleasantly with German subjects, so far from their being interfered with, I think they ought to be encouraged, and more particularly ought they to be encouraged if the object be the introduction of German goods here.
This may sound to some of you rather a strange and strong doctrine, but in truth it is the only conceivable means by which we can get paid one single farthing of the vast debt that is owing to us. At the present moment, as your Lordships know, the cost 804 of our Army of Occupation is being piled up as a debt against Germany, which she cannot pay now, and in the end it will only be repaid, in some form or another, by the introduction of goods into this country which this country needs. If it is not paid that way it cannot be paid at all. I think that it is of the utmost importance that we should not try to prevent, or place obstacles in the way of, the restoration of that trade on which, firstly, the restoration of the prosperity of Germany depends and, secondly, and far more important, the restoration of our own prosperity.
§ LORD NEWTON
It is quite evident that there will be many classes of hardship under this clause, but, apparently, the object of the clause is to differentiate between ex-enemy aliens and other aliens. Would not the purpose be served by reducing the period? Three years seems to me an unnecessarily long period, and possibly it might meet the views of my noble friend behind me if it were reduced.
§ LORD ASHTON OF HYDE
I do not want to look at this clause from the point of view of the punishment of the Germans. I want to look at it from the purely selfish interest of England. I cannot but think that this clause will interfere very largely with the trade of England in the next three years. It is perfectly true that at the present moment German trade is not of any great account to us, but that is merely a temporary state of affairs. That is simply because the demand all over the world is so great that it cannot be met, and we stand in the exceptionally strong position of recovering from the war more rapidly than certainly any country except America, and perhaps as rapidly as America. Therefore, at the present moment we do not necessarily require the German trade, but that time is not going to last. The time is coming when we shall want this German trade again.
Before the war the trade between this country and Germany, in imports and exports together, was larger than that which we had with any other country in the world, except America. It seems to me that, looking at the matter from the purely selfish point of view, we cannot afford to do without this trade, and that, instead of trying to put difficulties in the way, simply for the sake of cutting off our nose to spite our face, we should, at the earliest possible moment, do away with any of the difficulties 805 that are going to exist for the trade of this country. I give one example. When I was working under the Minister of Blockade I became aware that there was a very large number of Germany traders in South America. South America is a very large market for merchants of this country. A great deal of that trade was done from Hamburg which was the head centre of the business firms. They did not deal direct only in German goods, but they had their German representatives in this country who bought goods here for export to South America, and who, in the same way, imported goods to their own countrymen in this country. Do you wish to kill that kind of trade? I think it would be the greatest mistake if the clause was passed in its present form and I heartily advocate the Amendment of the noble Lord.
§ LORD PHILLIMORE
With the indulgence of the House, may I answer what was said by the noble Earl in charge of the Bill? I do not think he went so far as to say that every alien at this moment requires all I have intended to require of alien enemies. I do not think he meant to say that everybody is to have a passport vised by a British Consul. But if there are any stronger words I should be quite content to have them put into the Amendment. If it be the case that all aliens have to have passports we know that very soon it will be dropped; and this Clause is to stand for three years. Originally, it was two years, but it was raised afterwards to three. I had at one time a further addition to this Amendment which I venture to think might possibly meet some of the objections of the Government. I proposed to subject any such former enemy alien, when he came into this country, to this proviso—namely, that he was to get permission to reside here or, if lie did not get permission or the permission lapsed, he might be required by the Secretary of State to leave the Kingdom within a week or be deported.
I thought that would meet the difficulty, and. I shall be prepared, if this Amendment is carried, to accept some such Amendment on Report. But I press upon-your Lordships that we shall seriously hinder business and inflict cases of hardship if we leave the clause as it is.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I am inclined to assent to this Amendment until I have had time to consider the additional 806 wards which the noble and learned Lord thinks, and no doubt rightly thinks, would add very much to the protection of the authorities. Until I have seen these words I should not think it right to divide your Lordships against the Amendment, and perhaps Lord Phillimore will be good enough to assure me that he will put down the additional words for the Report stage. If I am content with them it will not be necessary for me to make any alternative proposals or substitute any words for those now left out.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to,
§ Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 11:
§ Temporary restriction on acquisition by former enemy aliens of certain kinds of properly.
§ 11.—(1) During a period of three years from the passing of this Act it shall not be lawful for a former enemy alien, either in his own name or in the name of a trustee or trustees, to acquire property of any of the following descriptions; that is to say:—
- (a) any land, or any interest in any land, in the United Kingdom; or
- (b) any interest in a key industry, or any shale in a company registered in the United Kingdom which carries on any such industry; or
- (c) any share in a company owning a British ship registered in the United Kingdom.
§ (2) If any such property as aforesaid is acquired in contravention of this section the Board of Trade may, on an application made to them for the purpose, by order vest the property in the Public Trustee.
§ Any such order may contain provisions applying for the purposes of the order, with such modifications as the Board think necessary, any of the provisions of section four of the Trading with the Enemy Amendment Act, 1916, or any enactment referred to in that section.
(3) For the purposes of this section—
The expression "key industry" means any industry included in a list declared by the Board of Trade to be a list of key industries for the purposes of this section;
The expression "share" includes any stock forming part of the capital of a company and securities of any description issuod by a company;
The expression "interest in land" does not include a tenancy for a period not exceeding three years at a. rackrent,
§ (4) Any list of key industries prepared by the Board of Trade under this section shall be published as soon as it is made in the London Gazette, and may be varied or amended by the Board from time to time.807
LORD CHARNWOOD: moved to leave out the first part of subsection (1), and to insert—
("(1) It shall not be lawful for any alien either in his own name or in the name of a trustee or trustees to acquire any land or any interest in land in the United Kingdom, and any grant or conveyance of any land or any interest in land in the United Kingdom to any alien or to a trustee or trustees for any alien, made after the passing of this Act, shall be void.
(2) During a period of three years from the passing of this Act it shall not be lawful for a former enemy alien either in his own name or in the name of a trustee or trustees to acquire property of either of the following descriptions, that is to say:—").
§ The noble Lord said: This clause as it stands prohibits an enemy alien during three years from acquiring land in this country. It also prohibits his acquiring certain other kinds of propperty. The question of aliens holding land in this country has two distinct aspects—one, concerned with national safety, and the other with social considerations. From the fact that the Government present this clause I assume that there are sound considerations of national defence why some such provision should be introduced. In fact, it is pretty obvious that there is some danger from the acquisition of land in this country by enemy aliens. If it is so, I ask myself, Why is the period of protection limited to three years? Surely the danger which this country may run in the future from Germany will not be less at the end of three years? It may possibly be far greater, and if there is some lurking danger to the State in an enemy holding land I cannot conceive why the protection should be limited to three years.
§ Again, is it sufficient from the point of view of defence to limit that objection to the case of enemy aliens as defined in this Bill? Is it not conceivable that some Russian subjects should be quite as dangerous to us in the future as Germans. I suggest on the grounds of national safety and defence, that this clause requires considerably widening, and I propose to strike out the limitation of three years, to strike out the restriction to enemy aliens, and also propose to add words which would not merely be a penalty on the alien purchasing land but would void the purchase.
§ The subject is of much wider aspect even than that. I think the acquisition of residential property in this country by increasing numbers of foreigners, enemy or not, 808 is somewhat of a social evil, and as the question has now been raised it will be well to guard against it. The argument is really a familiar one. All I am saying was foreshadowed in some remarks which Lord Salisbury made on the Second Reading of the Bill. We all know that there are social duties of varied kinds attaching to the ownership of land on any considerable scale, and we know that there are a number of people of cosmopolitan tendencies looking out for desirable places to reside in. They are not bound by any patriotic tie in their choice of residence. These Islands are in many ways the most attractive place of residence the world contains, and the tendency of aliens to take estates in England or in Scotland is likely to be an increasing rather than a decreasing one.
§ Frankly, of course, the particular kind of alien who will be most expected and who has most frequently in the past bought houses and land in this country is the American. Probably few of your Lordships have a larger number of friends in America than I have, and in what I am saying I am not actuated by the slightest unfriendly feeling towards America. I do not take any special interest in Americans or in people of other nationalities of cosmopolitan tendencies who choose their residence in any land but their own. I do feel—your Lordships can judge of the weight of this consideration without my elaborating it at all—that there is serious social loss in many respects which is liable to take place whenever an English country house, and perhaps a large tract of land in the neighbourhood, is acquired by a person who has no English feelings or traditions, who has no idea of fulfilling the social duties of an English country gentleman, and who in many cases possibly does not realise that such duties exist.
Page 7, leave out lines 14 to 20 inclusive, and insert the said words.—(Lord Charnwood.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
This is an impossible proposal, not only for reasons which I do not enter upon, but for reasons into which I will enter only very shortly. It proposes a change of this magnitude at this stage of the Bill's fortunes, and would in any event, even if recommended by very powerful arguments, be quite impossible. It has apparently escaped the attention of my noble friend that legislation of the kind which he somewhat light-heartedly proposes 809 would violate many of our most important commercial treaties, which he has made no arrangement at all for denouncing, and the consequences of which would be somewhat inconvenient. Our treaties with Italy and Greece, of 1883 and 1886, provide that the nationals of the two contracting parties shall be permitted to acquire offices, houses, warehouses, and premises which may be necessary for their purposes. Our treaty with Japan, of 1911, possesses similar terms. There is our treaty with Switzerland, of 1855, and with Russia, of 1859, and I need not go through the whole of a very lengthy list, but I would just remind my noble friend that the law of New York State, though modified since, anticipating this kind of legislation had provided by anticipation that if any country in the world prevented American citizens owning land within its boundaries similar prohibition would be applied to the nationals of that country in America. I assure my noble friend that his proposals would not be popular with those of his fellow-countrymen who have business connections in foreign countries.
§ LORD CHARNWOOD
I was, of course, prepared to learn that this Amendment was not possible, and I only wanted to ventilate the subject. I therefore ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD PARMOOR had on the Paper an Amendment to leave out paragraph (b). The noble and learned Lord said: I do not move now, but I may bring the matter up on the Report stage.
Page 7, line 21, after ("share") insert ("or interest in a share")
Page 7, line 24, after ("share") insert ("or interest in a share").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ Clause 11, as amended agreed to.
§ Clause 12 agreed to.
§ Clause 13:
§ Additional powers of Secretary of State.
§ 13. The Secretary of State may, if he thinks it necessary in the interests of public safety, direct 810 that any of the provisions of this Act as to former enemy aliens shall in particular cases be applicable to other aliens, and thereupon such provisions shall apply accordingly.
§ THE EARL of DESART had on the Paper an Amendment to leave out Clause 13.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
If the noble and learned Lord will allow me, I think I can save time. The only advantage, if it be an advantage, that can be claimed for the clause is that it is a statutory provision as against provision by Order in Council, and I certainly incline to the view that it is an advantage which might be dearly bought at the cost of offending either the. French or the American, or any other Allied nation. In those circumstances I do not propose to resist this Amendment if it is moved.
Leave out Clause 13.—(The Earl of Desart.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 14:
Amendments moved —
Page 8, line 36, leave out ("and") and insert ("or")
Page 8, line 38, at end insert ("or, in either case, to both such fine and imprisonment").—(The Lord (Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ Clause 14, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 15:
§ Saving for diplomatic persons, &c.
§ 15. Nothing in this Act contained shall be construed as imposing any restriction or disability on any duly accredited head of a foreign diplomatic mission or any member of his official staff or household.
§ LORD PHILLIMORE moved, at the end of the clause, to insert "or on any consul Or vice-consul to whom His Majesty is pleased to grant an exequatur or on any members of the household of such consul or vice-consul." The noble and learned Lord said: I do not know how the Government view this Amendment, but I cannot help thinking that it is, an accidental omission. They have provided for the Ambassador and his household, and I cannot help thinking that they cannot 811 mean to put the consul or vice-consul, to whom His Majesty pleases to grant an exequatur, under any of the coercive provisions of the Act. No doubt the acceptance by the Lord Chancellor of my Amendment to Clause 10 does not make this so important, but I cannot help thinking that it is very undesirable to encourage the notion that foreign countries, especially alien enemy countries, should be represented here by Englishmen, who may be to that extent seduced from their allegiance, and that it is very much better that a German Consul should come over here as a bona fide known German. Therefore being a man to whom His Majesty is pleased on advice to grant an exequatur, he should be admitted as freely as any other alien who is not a former alien enemy. Of course His Majesty has it in his power to refuse anybody an exequatur. I see that Lord Desart has substantially arrived at the same conclusion, and therefore I beg to move the insertion of these words.
Page 9, line 4, at end insert ("or on any consul or vice-consul, to whom His Majesty is pleased to grant an exequatur or on any members of the household of such consul or vice-consul").—(Lord Phillimore.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
The words with which the noble and learned Lord attempts to give effect to his purpose would, I think, require further examination. There are certain points, for instance, in the definition of a consul, raising questions as to whether he is salaried or not. The Government are willing to deal with the case which is raised by the noble and learned Lord, and I suggest the convenient course would be that I should not resist the Amendment, but, that between now and the Report Stage we should examine into what words should be used.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 15, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 16:
§ 16. The expression "former enemy alien" means an alien who is or has at any time been a subject or citizen of the German Empire or any component state thereof, or of Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, or Turkey, and has not changed his allegiance as a result of the recognition of new states or territorial re-arrangements, or been naturalised in any other foreign state or in any British Possession in accordance with the laws thereof, and When actually resident therein, and in such a manner as not to retain according to the law of his state of origin the nationality of that state.812
Page 9, line 6, leave out ("or has at any time been")
Page 9, line 8, leave out ("and") and insert ("or who, having at any time been such subject or citizen")
Page 9, lines 12 and 13, leave out ("in such a manner as not to") and insert. ("does not")
Page 9, line 14, at end insert ("Provided that the special provisions of this Act as to former enemy aliens, except the provisions of subsection (2) of section two of this Act, shall not apply to any woman who was at. the time of her marriage a British subject").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ Clause 16, as amended, agreed to.
§ Remaining clause agreed to.