HC Deb 22 January 1942 vol 377 c440W
Mr. Pritt

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that seven Germans, transferred from this country to internment in Canada, all of whom are anti-Nazi and are recognised by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom as having the status of refugees from Nazi oppression, had their status altered to that of prisoners of war by a minor official; whether, having regard to the serious consequences ensuing from such a change, he will take steps to ensure that no such change is made in future without his consent; whether he is aware that these men were placed in a camp consisting wholly of Italians of whom the majority were Fascists, and virtually all were hostile both to this country and to the men in question; and whether he will take steps to see that such misplacements do not occur again?

Mr. H. Morrison

The suggestions made in this Question are mistaken. Seven Germans (of whom three had been interned in this country for individual reasons prior to general internment and were in Category A) were transferred by the Canadian authorities for disciplinary reasons from one civilian internment camp to another civilian internment camp. These transfers were effected by an order of the Secretary of State at Ottawa, and there is no foundation for the suggestion that the transfers had the effect of altering the status of these persons to that of prisoners of war. As the hon. and learned Member has already been informed, the facts with regard to the camp to which they were transferred are not as stated in his Question. I cannot accept the suggestion that the steps taken by the Canadian authorities involved "misplacements" or that any action on my part is called for. The transfers took place in September last. Since that date three of the seven men have been sent back to this country, and the remaining four have, I am informed, rejoined or will shortly rejoin the camp from which they were temporarily removed.