HC Deb 14 February 1940 vol 357 cc772-3W
Mr. Pritt

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that an organisation is at work in London for the purpose of enabling volunteers to proceed to Finland; and whether, since His Majesty's Government were advised by the law officers of the Crown in 1937 that the Foreign Enlistment Act, 1870, makes it illegal for any British subject to take service in the forces of a foreign State engaged in warlike operations with a friendly State, and for any person to induce any British subject so to take service, notwithstanding the absence of a technical state of war, he will cause the persons concerned to be prosecuted?

Mr. Peake

His Majesty's Government have carefully considered this matter in the light of the resolution passed by the Assembly of the League of Nations on 14th December last on the subject of the provision of assistance to Finland. It would, in their view, be inconsistent with the spirit and with the terms of that resolution that British subjects who wish to volunteer for service in Finland should be hindered by the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act, seeing that that Act contains a power to grant dispensations. Accordingly, a general licence has been granted to British subjects to enlist in the Finnish forces, and a licence has been granted to the recruiting organisation which has been established in London.