HC Deb 30 November 1922 vol 159 cc940-1W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information concerning the arrest and imprisonment of 14 British subjects in Leavenworth, Kansas, United States of America, in connection with an agitation organised by the Industrial Workers of the World; whether the British subjects referred to were convicted under an Espionage Act and sentenced to terms of imprisonment from five to 20 years; and what particular act of espionage the men were guilty of?


The facts which refer to cases tried by the United States Courts more than three years ago are substantially as stated by the hon. Member except that the nationality of some of the accused is doubtful. The Act of 1917, under which these men were convicted, although called the "Espionage Act" for short, had, in reality, a much wider scope. Its full title was, "An Act to punish acts of interference with the foreign relations, the neutrality and the foreign commerce of the United States, and to punish espionage, and better to enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and for other purposes." As a matter of fact, the offences charged against these men were, in the main, concerned with opposition to, and obstruction of, the war effort of the United States. If desired, I can place in the Library of the House a volume of the proceedings in appeal from which hon. Members can obtain fuller information.