HC Deb 26 May 1952 vol 501 cc117-8W
113. Mr. G. Thomas

asked the Attorney General whether he will introduce legislation to ensure that any persons, excepting those covered by diplomatic immunity, charged with the murder of a British citizen in this country shall be tried by a British Court of Justice.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I assume that the hon. Member has in mind recent proceedings before a United States naval court-martial in London. The effect of the United States of America (Visiting Forces) Act, 1942 is that the United States authorities have exclusive criminal jurisdiction over members of their forces in this country unless they waive the jurisdiction, but an Agreement signed last year between the parties to the North Atlantic Treaty, including the United States and the United Kingdom Governments, contemplates the substitution of new arrangements. Before this country can ratify that Agreement it will be necessary to amend our law, and I am not yet in a position to say when the necessary legislation will be introduced.