§ Order read for resuming adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [15th May], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ Which Amendment was to leave out the word "now,'' and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—[Mr. Whitehouse.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question." Debate resumed.
§ Mr. GLYN-JONES
When the proceedings on this Bill were interrupted, I was speaking in support of it, and I stated that the constituency which I represent, namely, the Stepney Division of Tower Hamlets, contained the largest number of people affected by the Bill. I have since been informed that I was inaccurate in that statement to the extent that there is one other, namely, the adjoining constituency of Whitechapel, which has more aliens residing within it who come within the scope of this Bill. One of the objects of the Bill, as I understand it, is to provide that the obligation which is now by law placed upon all citizens of this country to take up arms to serve either in the Army or the Navy, shall now be placed upon those who are domiciled in this country, but who are not in fact citizens of the country, not having been born here or become naturalised, but who are citizens of one or other of our great Allies. 1 can quite understand those who object to compulsory military service of any kind, and who have objected throughout the course of the War to imposing upon British citizens the obligation of taking up arms, raising an objection to this obligation being cast upon the friendly alien, but I cannot understand the attitude of anyone who, whilst admitting that the conditions in which the world to-day finds itself, and our own country and the countries of our Allies in particular, justify a departure from what has been the policy of this country in regard to military service by imposing compulsion on our citizens to take up arms, yet object to the same obligation being cast upon those who are domiciled 524 in this country, who have come here to live with their families, some having brought up their families here, and who, except for the special pi ivileges—and they are not many—which the naturalised subject has compared with the alien, enjoy to all intents and purposes to the full the rights and privileges of all those living in this country.
No one likes doing that, but it is quite clear that the military necessity demands it, and certainly it demands that men such as those who are now being called upon and who are British citizens must serve if the necessity means that men who have been out at the front and have come back wounded or invalided two or three times, and have to go again perhaps to run those same risks. If the necessity is such as to justify that I cannot see any argument against the necessity of compelling able-bodied people who have lived in this country, and availed themselves of all our privileges, not going and taking their fair share in this War. On the ground of necessity alone this Bill could be justified. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark (Mr. Whitehouse) said that we were in danger of doing very great injustice to these aliens. He says:I realise the prejudice that- exists on this subject throughout the country, but I do not think we get rid of prejudice and passion by yielding to it.I do not know what he means by prejudice in that respect, but I think he must be referring to the feeling which I, and those who represent constituencies like mine, are very conscious of, and that is a feeling which I describe not of prejudice but a genuine sense of injustice. In the course of the War we have to do things which mean that people do not bear equal burdens. It is impossible, I know, to secure that, but we have no right to try our people, as we are trying them in this matter, by giving them, in my view, sound and reasonable cause for bitter complaint. Let anyone go down to the East End of London to-day and he will find there a very different state of things from that which he would find in any other part of the country, for he would find a number of men of military age, the explanation, of course, being not that these men have been exempted in large numbers because they are required for essential work at home, but they are men who have never been put in the position of British citizens having to ask the country whether they were needed at home or at the front. All 525 that this Bill does is to impose exactly the same liability upon these people to serve as is imposed upon the British citizen.
My hon. Friend in introducing this Bill said there were about 30,000 Russian aliens in this country, most of them in the East End. What do you find in almost any street in the East End of London to-day You will find a family where the Russian father came here perhaps when he was quite a young man; he will have brought up his family here and will probably be engaged in business here. He has come here possibly to escape conditions which were imposed upon him as a Russian citizen, and one of those conditions was that so long as he remains in Russia he would have been liable to military service. Prior to this War I was one of those opposed to compulsory military service in this country, and consequently I would naturally have a great deal of sympathy with a man who left his country because he was opposed to the principles of compulsory military service, and who came to another country where they did not impose in time of peace that obligation. But hon. Members who object to a change in that attitude towards these people seem to me to forget, as they do on most other things, that we are at war; that both the aliens' country and ours are at war, and consequently the whole aspect is changed. Hon. Members talk about the welcome we gave these people to this country, but I ask, should we have welcomed them here in the same way if when they came their country and ours had actually been at war and we were fighting for our lives? Should we have welcomed them had we known they were fleeing from their country to avoid the crisis which had arisen and to avoid doing their duty? I think not. The very conditions which have led me to take up an entirely different attitude in regard to the necessity of military service in time of war with regard to our own citizens are exactly my justification for saying that although these people came here when we had not compulsory military service, when we find the state of the world to be what it is now, when we find the country of their birth and the country of their adoption fighting for their lives, I have no sympathy with them when they say we will fight for neither.
The so-called prejudice is very naturally due to the fact that amongst other people, Jews who were born in this country and have become naturalised have been called upon to serve and give up their businesses, 526 and who are the most likely to take their businesses than those of their own race? Who are the biggest competitors of the Russian Poles in the East End to-day? The Russian Poles who are not naturalised. There is more to fear from them from competition than from anyone else, and yet as the law stands, because a man felt it his duty to take his place as a citizen of this country, when in this time of stress he is called upon to sacrifice everything, you see his next-door neighbour who has enjoyed all the privileges of British citizenship remaining behind and taking up these businesses, and yet the naturalised man has to leave his family and he is called upon to serve in the ranks. There are hon. Members of this House who have no doubt been able to show to their own satisfaction how the honour of this, country requires that that state of things should continue, but you will never explain to the people of the East End of London that the honour of this country requires it. I was very much impressed by a very representative deputation of mayors and members of borough councils who met a number of Members from the East End in this House, and they told us solemnly that they were seriously apprehensive of a real breach of the peace in the districts where these people live. I only mention this because I do not think it is quite fair to suggest that the object of this Bill was to meet prejudice. Its real object is to meet a necessity which calls for the placing of 30,000 Russian aliens in the East End in the same position in regard to their obligation to fight in this War as they would have been if they had remained in their own country or if they had remained citizens of the country of their adoption. When I say that there should be the same obligations, I also ask the Government to give them the same rights. The British citizen under the Military Service Act has certain rights of exemption, and he has the right to go before a tribunal and have his circumstances considered. I hope the Government, at any rate, will see that they do not ask the alien whom they are bringing in under this Bill to submit to anything to which the British citizen is not asked to submit, and that he has the same right of appeal.
Many of these people are members of the Jewish race and are of the Jewish religion. I think that the War Office might have done more in the earlier days of the War to have encouraged these 527 people to volunteer by giving them facilities to serve in separate units where they would have found the great majority of the men to be of their own race and religion and their own habits of thought. It is perhaps a little hard to take a civilian alien from his surroundings in Stepney and plant him down as an isolated individual in a regiment where, perhaps, he may feel that he is not at home, and, if you are going to bring in a large number of these men I am sure, if it is at all practicable, that it would ease matters if arrangements were made for them to serve together as far as possible. If you impose upon them, and I hope you will, the liability to serve, you should give them the easiest opportunity of becoming fully naturalised British subjects. I think it is a corollary if they have been called upon to fight for the country and risk their lives—some of them may be called upon to lay down their lives—that you should, if any of them desire it, make it perfectly easy for them to become fully naturalised British subjects. I hope that the Bill will go through and that the Government will pay such a respect as may be due to the suggestions which I have offered for their treatment after they have become soldiers.
§ 1.0 P.M.
§ Mr. TREVELYAN
The hon. Member who has just spoken is perfectly correct in saying that some of us who oppose this Bill also opposed Conscription for this country, but I am bound to say that it is for very widely different reasons that we oppose this Bill. There are objections to it, very different from those which we raised against the Conscription of our own subjects. The first objection which we have is that this Bill is the worst type of the bad sort of legislation which we have been having during this War. The House of Commons under it signs away to the Government quite indefinite powers for a quite indefinite number of people with indefinite results to those people. We do not know how many of our own people in foreign countries or foreigners in this country whom we are going to conscript under this Bill. It depends upon certain conventions which apparently and professedly are expected by the Government, but which do not now exist, and which the Government make no promise whatever of making public. I should like the Under-Secretary of State for War, if he replies, to quite definitely 528 say whether those conventions will be made public when they are made. We are legislating in the dark. We are giving; these powers before these conventions exist, and, to begin with, we say that the discussion of this Bill ought, at any rate, to be postponed until the first and most important of those conventions, the one with Russia, comes into existence. As it is, the House is deliberately encouraging the Government in the courses of secret diplomacy. The Government, if this Bill is passed, will have a free hand to make any secret or illiberal arrangement it likes with Russia or with any other country, and there will be no Parliamentary sanction whatever, and no effective power on the part of this House of stopping it. The House, by passing this Bill, will be signing away the rights, privileges, lives, and fortunes not only of foreigners, but of our own subjects, without in the least knowing what they are signing away. That is a very unwise kind of legislation for this House to adopt, and I hope it will not pass. I think, as a matter of fact, however, the Government are really in a difficulty, and they are hurrying on this Bill because they are not certain if they are going to get their principal convention at all. The largest number of aliens who are resident in this country are Russian subjects. They are the people whom they want to conscript, and they justify this Bill by saying that they are preparing a convention with the Russian Government in order to conscript them. I do not know whether they are going to get that convention, but it is not settled. Let us take the story of this secret transaction between our Government and the Russian Government as far as we know it. The Government began negotiations with the old violent, tyrannical bureaucracy that has recently been extirpated in Russia. It is quite true that old Government of Russian did not ask for this legislation. It is quite true that the desire for it originated in this country, but equally I have no doubt that old Russian bureaucracy was not sorry to find that there was in power here a Home Secretary who was ready to hand back men who had fled from the Russian Government. I have no doubt they were glad enough to enter into an arrangement which was then calculated to send back large numbers of these people to unfree Russia. The convention, however, was not concluded with the old Government. We have now had three months 529 of the new Russian Revolutionary Government and the convention is still under discussion.
I should like to know more about the prospects of the convention coming into existence. There have been changes in the Foreign Office in Russia, and the last change is one which in every other respect shows a complete repudiation of all the policy of the old Russian Government. We have no business to proceed with this Bill until we know with certainty and definiteness that M. Tereshtchenko is going to carry out the policy which his predecessors were intending. The truth is that one of two things is the case with this Bill. We are either legislating in a hurry in order to save the face of the Government and in order to get this legislation passed for political reasons, because they are never going to get their conventions, or else we are legislating in a hurry before seeing the conventions which the Government are going to get, and which we ought to see before we have this legislation established. The Government cannot get out of that dilemma at any rate.
I now pass to the principle of the Bill, which is no small matter. It is quite true that it concerns very few people in this country, yet we are establishing an absolutely new system which has never been heard of in our modern civilisation, namely, the conscription of foreigners and allowing our own people to be conscripted by foreigners. I propose to deal with the conscription of foreigners in this country first. It is no doubt true, as is said by those who support this legislation, that a great many of these aliens owe a great deal to this country which has offered them an asylum, and of all people they arc the first to acknowledge it through all their declarations and through anything any of them ever said privately. It is one thing to be grateful to Great Britain or to the country which has given you an asylum, and it is another thing to be enthusiastic enough for that country to the extent of being willing to die for it. Hon. Members speak as if there was anything comparable between the patriotism of a citizen who comes of a family which has been for generations in England and the patriotism of a new refugee. The quality is of an entirely different kind. Turn it the other way round. Supposing there is a Briton who is domiciled for a time in Brazil or 530 the Argentine, where he has his home' and satisfactory opportunity for livelihood, and where he is leading a very good life. It is one thing to appreciate the country which you go to and which gives you advantages, but it is quite another thing to be asked to be so patriotic to that country as to be ready to die for it.. The two things cannot be put on the same basis at all. The truth is that the more you believe in patriotism as a principal virtue, the less you ought to expect it to-be shown in this way for new countries.
What is the real excuse for this Bill? The hon. Member who spoke last (Mr. Glyn-Jones) said it was because of our military necessities. We have had very little told us as to the number of people who are likely to come under this Bill in any circumstances. The figure o£ 30,000 has been mentioned. Let us take that figure. I wonder what it consists of, and what deductions have got to be made I In the original circumstances under which this; legislation was proposed the idea was to enlist all the people who refused to go back to Russia or to send them back to Russia. But the problem is quite a different one now. The problem is not nearly so acute as it was. Masses of these men are ready to go back to Russia now, and one thing we want to know is, what facilities are being given to enable them to go back? Until you have deducted all the men who want to go back, you have no right to quote that figure, and you have no right to begin talking about the Bill you are bringing forward. There are large numbers of these people who want to go back, but in the first place they are unable to find transport. There is a still greater difficulty. There are large numbers who would be perfectly willing to go back to a free Russia, but they are unable to find transport, and if they were able to transport themselves they are unable to transport their wives and children. You cannot expect a man to go back to Russia and leave his wife and children here in most cases. It is no use saying, "We are ready to transport individuals," unless you are ready to transport families. Before you have any right to legislate you ought to provide facilities for these aliens going back, if they want to go, and you ought to find out the extent of the problem which you have got to deal with. Thirty thousand foreigners is the figure that is mentioned. Supposing you enlist all these. It is not true that that is really a matter which 531 vitally concerns our military necessities. Thirty thousand is nothing in these days; it is an insignificant number.
This is a small local problem. I agree that it may be acute enough in the East End, but what the Government are really doing is to surrender to a quite natural, if not very elevating, popular irritation in a few districts in the country. It is quite true that the presence of a large number of these young men may be irritating in these districts, but it is not true to say that great masses of them are taking the work of people who have left. What is true is that the great mass of them are simply doing work in their own occupations, and a few of them, it is true, are taking the places of the people who have gone out. But you have not got a big problem, and you have not got a problem so big that you ought to break with the whole of your British traditions, and invent an entirely new system of enlisting foreigners, and getting your own people enlisted in foreign countries. The game is not worth the candle. Thirty thousand ! From those 30,000 you have to deduct, first of all, if you are going to be honest in your declaration that you are going to allow them the alternative of going back to their own country, the number of those who are ready to go back to Russia with their families. You then ought to deduct those who are ready to go to neutral countries. Then there is another important matter, and I want to have a definite answer about it. What is going to be the position of the Poles who form a very large part of the Russian community here? The Poles cannot go back to their own country. Russia has declared for the independence of Poland, and it does not look as if it would be very likely that she will try to reconquer Poland, which she proposes to make independent. The situation in Poland is, so far as we can see from the newspapers, that the Poles are not fighting for Germany, except to a very small extent. Practically Poland is already a neutral country. The Poles have no patriotic motive in fighting on either side, because they realise that independence has been promised by both parties. It has been partially given by one and honestly offered by the other. The Poles ought not to be asked to fight on either side. We object, rightly, to their being asked to fight on the German side, and they ought not to be asked to 532 fight on our side either. Both parties are steadily verging towards Polish independence, and I want to know definitely whether the Government proposes to conscript the Poles.
But there is another side of the question, and it is remarkable that it has not had more attention. We are going to enlist foreigners, and our own nationals are going to be conscripted in foreign countries, and I want to know what the fate of our own nationals in foreign countries is going to be. Supposing you get a series of conventions with Russia, France, Italy, and so so, what is going to happen to the thousands of our fellow countrymen who are going to be enlisted? You may say you want them to be compelled to fight there if not here. But that is not the whole question. The question is, to what kind of treatment are they likely to be subjected? It is quite impossible, even if we had the most admirable Foreign Office and the most perfect Consular Service, to substitute the attention of our officials in foreign countries as an adequate safeguard compared with the attention which our own people get in their own country when it is a question whether they ought to be enlisted or not. Our people living in foreign countries, strangers in a strange land, if they come under compulsory service will be subject to foreign tribunals, and I do not know whether they be any better than ours.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Macpherson)
My hon. Friend will not find that in the Bill.
§ Mr. TREVELYAN
I suppose not. We do not find anything in the Bill. We do not in the least know under what conditions our nationals will be enlisted, and that is just the point. I do not suppose they have tribunals in France like ours, but they will have some process of compulsion. I have read very carefully what my hon. Friend said, and there was nothing in the least to explain what safeguards there were. I think the Ambassador, or some official, is to have the power of claiming exemption.
§ Mr. TREVELYAN
I did not say there was. I said that in whatever country our people are conscripted there will be some process of compulsory enlistment, whether by tribunals or otherwise, and it 533 will probably be something more brutal than our tribunals. The more militarist the country the more brutal the system. This Bill is being justified on the ground that foreigners are competing with our own people. Do you suppose that sort of argument is not heard in foreign countries as well Of course it is. If we get conventions with Italy, France, Russia, etc., there will be industrial competitors of our people over there who will be very glad to get rid of them. I want to know what kind of security our Government is going to give to our non-nationals that they are not going to be conscripted, whether by tribunals, military authorities, or what not, and what kind of security they are going to have that they will get anything like fair treatment. It is absurd to say the mere veto of the British Ambassador is going to be sufficient security. It is going to be nothing of the kind.
But, further than that, I hold that we have no right whatever to leave our own people to the tender mercies of the military systems of other countries. As soon as a man gets in a foreign army, without help, out of our ken altogether, there will be not the least chance of any assistance being given to him if he is badly treated in any way. Once in a foreign army there is no redress whatever possible. That is a point of view which I think we ought to consider for the sake of our own nationals, and for that reason also I should be opposed to the Bill. I think the House of Commons will be far better advised to follow the example of the French Chamber of Deputies, a member of which sought to require subjects of Allied nations belonging to classes called up in their respective countries to present themselves for military service. He wanted the French to do precisely and exactly what our Government is asking us to do by this Bill. He used exactly the same arguments and put them perfectly fairly and squarely exactly in the same way as the advocates -of this Bill do. These men, he said, are deserters from duty in their own countries. They constitute a population often undesirable which, whether lazy and objectionable, or industrious and taking our jobs, is alike offensive to the French population. Everything we hear from every advocate of this Bill was heard in the French Chamber. With more need of men than ever anyone can say we have, the French Chamber rejected that proposal by 325 votes to 124. When I cited this 534 in a question to the Leader of the House he said they did not really reject it, and they did not mean what i implied, so I made inquiries. I inquired first of a very well-informed Frenchman in England as to what had really happened, and he said the Amendment w7as referred back to the Army Commission, and he went on:Everyone knows that in France when anything is referred back to the Commission it means a first-class funeral.Further, I wrote to an eminent member of the Chamber of Deputies, who replied in exactly the same sense and said that the proposal had been sent back to the Army Commission, where it had been given very little consideration and they would report unfavourably when called upon to do so.
§ Mr. TREVELYAN
No; they have not been asked, and they are not going to do so. It would be better that we should do the same thing and give this Bill a first-class funeral by putting it oil for three months, which will have exactly the same effect as the French in sending it to the Army Commission. It is most unfortunate that we should do anything quite unnecessarily to break with the British tradition of giving an asylum to foreigners in this country. It has been unbroken for generations. We have harboured refugees from many lands for many centuries, freeing them from many kinds of persecution. At all times in our history there have been. difficulties and inconveniences, of course, in having aliens in our midst, but, after all, we have provided in many ways, most of all in our reputation as being the guardians of freedom, and I am very sorry it should be the British House of Commons that is the first to break the tradition that if there is Conscription it ought only to be by f he nation to which the conscripted man belongs.
Mr. CARADOC REES
While I have been listening to the Debate the question I have put to myself-has been, is this a fair Bill, having regard to all the difficulties with which we are confronted, and is it a just Bill? The last speaker has repeated the phrase that we are legislating in a hurry. We have been three years at war. This is not a Bill brought in immediately on the outbreak of war. It is a Bill brought in after three years delay, and there has been nothing in the nature of hurry in the introduction of this measure 535 to this House. Another point the hon. Member put to the House is, can a man here be expected to fight for a country to which he does not belong, can a Russian in this country be expected to be patriotic for this country? That is not what we are asking under this Bill. We are not asking them to fight for us; we are asking them to fight for the Allies. Hon. Members talk as if this country only were engaged in this War. The man will be fighting for Russia, which is his own country.
I will deal with that question in a moment. The hon. Member says that if a man does not belong to this country, why cause him to fight for us? He ought to be fighting for the country from which he has come, or the country to which he has come. The position hon. Members are putting is that a man who leaves his own country and goes to another country ought to fight for neither. That is a curious proposition to put forward. I submit that this Bill is the barest justice, and that it is a fair Bill in every way. One of the dangers is this: We may be unfair to a lot of the aliens who are living here. A lot of them did offer for service, but were rejected because they were not of our nationality. Under this Bill they will come in. I believe there is a number of aliens who are willing to go into the Army, and their anxiety has not been, as certain hon. Members have suggested, that they should be sent back to Russia, but that they should not be sent back to Russia. The whole burden of the claim in September, 1916, when we offered to send them back to Russia, was that they did not want to go back to Russia because they were refugees. Now when it is proposed to bring them in under this Bill it is said that they say they want to go back to Russia. If the argument is that a number of Russians here are anxious to go back to Russia in order to fight for the Allies, if that be true, what harm is being done to these people when we remember the number of Russians who are at present on the French front fighting with the French Army? What harm or wrong is there, instead of wasting all the time in sending them back to Russia, in telling them to go straight to the French front and to fight with their fellow Russians with the French Army? If they are honest in what they profess, they can go straight to the 536 Western front and fight alongside their Russian friends. The suggestion I make is that this is a fair Bill and one that has been long delayed. I put this question to anyone in the House who happens to be a father: If his son at the outbreak of this War was of military age and was living or carrying on business in Italy at that time, would he have desired him to escape his military obligation because he happened to be in Italy at that time 1 Let us do unto these men what we would wish to be done by. That is exactly what this Bill does.
§ Mr. KING
I am very glad to follow the hon. Member for the Arfon Division of Carnarvon (Mr. C. Rees). He spoke on the subject some months ago, and I attempted to follow him then, but I had not the opportunity which you, Sir, have afforded me to-day. If the hon. Gentleman remembers his speech on that occasion, he will see at once that it is totally inconsistent with the speech he has just delivered. He then suggested that if these men would not join our Army, why should they not go out of the country. When I asked him privately afterwards whether he was aware that they were not allowed to leave the country for any neutral or foreign land, he was quite surprised to hear it. He was in total ignorance of the fact that though these men for something like two years had been requesting the Government to let them go to America, to France, to Holland, and to Scandinavia, they had been kept in this country all that time. The hon. Member, who is generally so well informed, always so reasonable, and invariably so pleasant to listen to, was in absolute, blank, hopleless ignorance of the facts. I shall not follow him in the various other instances of misunderstanding the question which he gave us to-day. He is aware that there is at the present time an intense desire to get back to Russia. I am very glad the Under-Secretary for War admits that, because the hon. Member for the Arfon Division evidently doubts it. I would give my testimony. I have had a great many calls in the Lobby from these gentlemen, and they have often told me: "Mr. King, if you had sent us back to Russia under the old regime, it would have been sending us to hell; but if you will let us go back to Russia under the Revolutionary Government, it will be sending us to heaven." If a man wants to go to heaven and wishes to do so for his benefit and our own, let him do so 537 Instead of letting a man go to heaven, the place where he wants to go, we bring in a ridiculous Bill like this, based upon a convention not yet made, with regard to which the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs from his place to-day told us he had no opportunity of making it at an early date and only that negotiations were in progress. I think that "wait and. see" will be the motto of these proceedings for a considerable time to come.
Why I chiefly object to this Bill is that it is based upon a very unfortunate and discreditable, although I must admit a growing, feeling of anti-Semite intolerance in this land. The speech of the Under-Secretary itself bore witness to the fact that it was an anti-Semite feeling which made it necessary to bring in this Bill. Of course, he himself is totally incapable of ungenerous feeling. He is a wide-minded, just man, and I entirely exonerate him from any ill-feeling in this matter. But he, like every other man in office, has to bow to the storm, and he has given way in bringing in this Bill, for which I do not think he cares very much himself. I think he wants to get the question out of the way and that he thinks this Bill will be the easiest method of shunting it on to a siding where it will be forgotten. If I thought so I would support him, but I should not be able to say sincerely all that I thought about the matter. But the speech of the hon. Member for Stepney bore witness to the fact that the first reason for this was to satisfy the feeling caused by these Jews in the East End. In other words, you have got to reckon with growing anti-Semitism in this country. Anti-Semitism, when it comes into a country, is a feeling which is very dangerous and very difficult to control and brings with it extraordinary evils and corruption in society. That it exists to-day there is no doubt. One has only to read the "Pall Mall Gazette"—I am sorry that my right hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy is not here—to see that it breathes every day a spirit of anti- Semitism. I have here another very strong anti-Semite paper, the "Globe"— a very bright and influential journal. I would like to call the attention of the hon. Member to the issue of the 26th of May, in which you have—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member sets up some imaginary reason for introducing the Bill, and then proceeds, in order to support that theory, to bring in another matter which has no connection whatever with it. He must come a little closer to the text of the Bill.
§ Mr. KING
I am very sorry to have said a word which was superfluous upon this large matter, especially when we shall have, I suppose next week, the opportunity of discussing the details of this matter in Committee, on which occasion I hope to be able to be present to give the hon. Member my assistance. But I suppose I am in order in referring to what has already been referred to by several speakers—I mean the various stages and various lines of policy which this Government has pursued towards these people. When the War first broke out a great number of these Russian Jews wanted to enlist, and a great many did enlist. You have only to read the Jewish papers to see their photographs in every issue. Many did enlist, giving—wrongly, I am afraid, in some eases, and in some cases ignorantly—their nationality as British. When it was found that they were not British they were actually turned out of the Army, and many of them, when they were wounded and discharged from the Army and were found to be not of British nationality were refused their pay and pensions, and so on. And anybody who has read Patterson's book, which was referred to by the hon. Member for Denbigh Boroughs, will know that the real reason why the men in Egypt were disbanded was partly because of the great difficulty in getting pay from London for these men. Therefore at first the War Office discouraged these men from enlisting. In future I hope for something more generous on the part of the War Office, because I believe that if they go into the Army now they would be fairly treated, and will get the same pay and separation allowances as British soldiers, and I think that they should be entitled to the same pensions. There is nothing of that in the Bill, and I believe that under the present warrants it is 539 doubtful whether they have got the same claim to these rights as British subjects. That is a point which I hope the hon Member will look into. I will give him an opportunity by Amendment of facing it in Committee, but it is a point of real substance, and one which has caused a difficulty in the way of this Bill.
Another matter of importance is the actual persons who are to be appointed to look after recruiting. I pointed out to the predecessor of the hon. Member, and to the late Home Secretary, that it was a fatal mistake to put the recruiting of these Russian Jews into the hands of people from New Court in the City. If the War Office had taken the advice of the people who know the temper of the different classes of society with whom it has to deal, it would not have placed the recruiting of the Russian Jews in an office in New Court in the City. Still, the hon. Member, if he wants to save himself trouble, if he wants this very objectionable business worked smoothly, must come to someone who knows the psychology of these people. On the back of this Bill you read that it is a Bill to enable His Majesty in Council to carry into effect the convention which may be made with allied and other nations.
What are the other States the subjects of which are to be conscripted under this measure? I can well understand their making an arrangement with Allies, but to make arrangements with those who are not themselves in alliance with us for the purposes of this War seems to us a most extraordinary and outrageous thing. Which are the States which have any appreciable number of citizens in our islands which are not Allied States? First of all, there are the enemy States and then the neutral States, and I put out of court at once the idea that we can possibly conclude a convention with the enemy States. Js it intended to make a convention with Holland, or Norway, or Sweden, or Denmark, or Switzerland t Those are the only States I can conceive that might be brought into this Bill. Again I ask, which are the other States which are contemplated? We are in alliance with France, we are in alliance with Italy, we are in alliance with Russia, and we are in alliance with the United States of America, with Japan, with China, and a number of other States, including Portugal and the Argentine. What other States in the 540 world are to be brought within the scope of this Bill I think really ought to be stated to the House. If some reply on that point is not made, let me warn the Undersecretary for War beforehand that I shall move an Amendment in Committee to omit the words "or other," and that unless he is able to say what are the other States that are not in alliance with us, but with which he contemplates conventions, I shall not hesitate to press that point as much as possible. Just consider, taking what one may judge to be the natural course of its operation if this Bill becomes law, what will happen. Some day or other, apparently without our knowing it, a convention will be made. Will that convention be published? I do not take it that it is quite sufficient to say, by a statement issued through the Press Bureau, that a convention has been made by which every Russian in this land of military age will be liable to be conscripted here. We ought to know the conditions and the actual words. There have been protests in the course of this War from all sides against secret diplomacy and binding alliances, not only from Members below the Gangway, but from every side of the House. Will these conventions for effecting this purpose, concerning vitally British subjects in Russia and Russians in Britain, be published to the world or will they not? There is nothing in this Bill whatever to-prevent the Government announcing that-a convention has been made and not telling us anything about what is in the convention, and then acting accordingly under the Defence of the Realm Regulations and powers which they may have by law that we know nothing whatever about, and then men finding themselves in consequence—our citizens as well as the citizens-of Allied States-domiciled here—placed in a most difficult, trying, and irritating position.
No notice, as far as I understand this Bill, need be sent to a man. When we passed Conscription for this country, of course, it was not necessary to send a notice, because everybody in the land had been called on, every male citizen was more or less following the public events of the day, and, therefore, that notice was not necessary. At any rate that was the attitude taken up, and there was some reason for it. Now, however, if there is no publication of the convention, but only an Order in Council which is issued and published in the "London Gazette," a man may in a few days—thirty days—after 541 suddenly find that he is a soldier. He may know nothing about the English language and may not be able to understand anything of the conditions of life. He may only recently have come here; in fact, if he lands here one day he may find himself a soldier in the British Army the next. He may be an absentee, and he may be charged before a magistrate and fined and sent to prison for a long term as an absentee. Injustices of this kind have happened frequently to our own citizens. The Under-Secretary for War knows it. He had to inquire yesterday into, I suppose, two or three dozen cases of that sort, which are creating in the circles in which they arise a sense of intense injustice. If that has happened with British citizens who know and understand the circumstances of life, the political conditions, who are acquainted with the language and read the papers of our country., what will not happen with aliens who do not know our language and some of whom may have only been a few hours here? You will have a great deal of difficulty, irritation, and injustice, and men will go back after the War and tell stories of the intolerance, injustice, and so on, with which they have been treated in this country. I am raising these points because I hope to bring them forward also in Committee, and, as I sec the Under-Secretary for War is very kindly attending to my efforts to give assistance and throw light on this Bill, I hope he will make a note of them and be prepared to deal with them.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
These are evidently Committee points. Perhaps the hon. Member will now address himself to the main question.
§ Mr. KING
The main principle of this Bill, we are told, is that we are to find some solution of the large number of Jews in the East End who are not able to go back to Russia, as they wish to do, and who are not willing to serve in our Army, I am afraid I must repeat that that is mixed up with a growing and a dangerous feeling against all Jews at the present time, a very dangerous feeling—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is now going back upon that part of the question to which I have told him he cannot go. It is beyond the scope of this discussion, and I would again invite the lion. Member to address himself more closely to the subject-matter. He has been wandering a great deal already.
§ Mr. KING
I should have sat down by now, and I will only say that I regret that, this Bill has been introduced. It is not going to lead to a solution of the question. The only solution of the question is to be found on very different lines, which I have in conversation with the Under-Secretary for War often suggested. I cannot state them now, and I will only say that if this. Bill goes to a Division on the Second Heading I shall feel it my duty to vote against it. If it goes into Committee I shall venture to propose a number of Amendments, because I see a great number of faults in this Bill. It is very defective. As I think was said by one hon. Member a month ago, it is a loosely drafted and badly framed Bill. It does not make clear for instance even whether Irishmen are to be conscripted in Russia or not. The relation between Irishmen and Englishmen in different countries is one of the obscure points. I will only say, therefore, that what I think about this Bill was expressed on another occasion, that patriotism is not enough. I must have no bitterness, no hatred against any man, and knowing that this Bill is founded on bitterness and pushed on by hatred I shall vote: against it.
§ Mr. MOLTENO
I take very strong exception to the method which has been pursued in regard to this Bill. There has been, a want of information. Information has not been given to the House to justify the course the Government have taken. The Under-Secretary for War (Mr. Macpherson), as far as I could make out his speech in introducing the Bill, gave us no indication why the Government were pursuing; this very unusual course. He did not attempt to justify it in any way. The preamble of the Bill states that it isto enable His Majesty in Council to-carry into effect conventions which may be made with allied and other States.That is a very unusual preamble. The-ordinary businesslike course would be to make the conventions and come to this House for the necessary power to carry them out. The Under-Secretary has given us no reason why that ordinary business course should not be followed in this case. I object also to the form of the Bill, because it is conferring upon the Government autocratic power to legislate for a British subject, not through Parliament but by executive decree. We have had already during the course of the War a great many Orders in Council Here is a 543 provision that His Majesty's Government may by Order in Council prepare for conventions and certain effects are to follow. If it were actual, something might be said. You have, in addition, to apply to British subjects all over the world a state of things "which is unknown to them, which is quite unknown to us, and which is indefinite at the present moment. We have no guide or indication what it means. We 'have not been given by the Under-Secretary one single word as to the lines on which the arrangements will proceed, and it creates, as all this kind of legislation must do, very serious inequalities. In the first case, if the Bill is carried out as it is drawn up there is the greatest inequality, and, I think, injustice, as between one set of British subjects and another, British subjects coming from neutral countries or the Dominions. There is a most distinct differentiation in the treatment of British subjects, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman, when he speaks, will give an indication that that will be removed. It now only does that in this country, but it will have a similar effect in other countries to which it will be applied because there British subjects, as I understood from his language in the course of the Debate, are in a different position.
British subjects coming from South Africa, who might find themselves in America when these conventions are made, would be liable to conscription as the Bill stands. British subjects from Ireland, where no conscription exists, and from South Africa, where there is also no conscription, would both find themselves subject to conscription in a foreign country. I understand that the Under-Secretary submitted that this was not intended and that it was not one of the state of things he was going to bring about, and I think he promised to alter the Bill so as to prevent the inequality. I hope he will answer that part and say what proposal he means to make to meet the case of a British subject who originally came from this country to be differently treated in America to a British subject who originally came from Ireland or one of our Dominions. You have, both in this country and foreign countries, differentiations and want of equality, and to that extent there is an injustice between British subjects and British subjects. Why should these inequalities be extended? Why, with our eyes open, 544 should we increase them? Not only is this so, but, as was pointed out by the late Secretary of State for Home Affairs, we are not now going to treat the foreigner in this country as a British subject. That is, as he pointed out, a very strong order, to treat a foreigner in this country as you treat a British subject. But a foreigner under this Bill is going to be worse treated than a British subject. That has a very important bearing on what I am going to draw attention to. I say you are not giving the foreigner, when you put him under this Bill, the same treatment as a British subject, but worse, because you are depriving him of the right to claim advantage of exemption under the Military Service Act. I regret very much that on the subject that I am about to open now there is no representative of the Foreign Office upon the Front Bench, because this matter is one which concerns the Foreign Office very largely. In every other Debate which I can remember where the Foreign Office was so largely involved, there has been a representative on the Front Bench. I suggest that we ought to have a representative of the Foreign Office here to explain the situation between foreign countries and ourselves in regard to this matter, which has given rise to prolonged, though we do not know what kind of, arguments with Allied countries. We are reversing the policy of this country which has been pursued steadily for many years. In the past the whole course of policy has been directed to freeing our subjects in foreign countries from conscription. We are now reversing that. We have endeavoured to protect, as I hope we always shall endeavour to protect, our subjects from arbitrary action on the part of foreign Governments, and, with that object in view, we have entered into a number of treaties and engagements with foreign countries not to apply their arbitrary methods to British subjects. We are now about to reverse that policy, and give a perfectly free hand to foreign Governments to treat our own subjects, who happen to be in foreign countries in any manner they choose. We have heard a great deal from the hon. Member for Stepney about the feeling which exists in the East End and other places where there is a considerable number of people who are not British subjects and whose country is fighting for existence. Yet that is exactly the position which has existed in regard to British subjects in foreign countries. This Government has 545 always taken the position that no British subject in foreign countries at war, and struggling for their existence, shall be conscripted. That is the attitude we have taken up with regard to the British in foreign countries, and we have heard from the hon. Member for Stepney what is felt there in regard to large numbers of foreign subjects.
Attention called to the fact that there were not forty Members present; House counted, and forty Members being found present—
§ Mr. MOLTENO
Before the interruption, I was just pointing out that we have taken up the position in foreign countries that whatever the circumstances during war might be, British subjects who happened to be in those countries were not to be conscripted. We now find foreigners in the East End in a position exactly analogous to British subjects in foreign countries, and we are obliged to put up with all the feelings of injustice which are now being expressed. Not only did we insist upon this, but we embodied the condition in our treaties with foreign Governments, and I am particularly anxious that some representative of the Foreign Office should be here to give us some information about treaties and agreements with foreign Powers, how far they are operative, whether anything has been done to abrogate them, and what is the position of those treaties and agreements to-day. I complain very much that no information was given to us of the fact that the carrying out of this policy was affected by a treaty with Russia. Russia is a country where this question has arisen most actively and to a most important degree; yet no intimation of it was given to us by the Under-Secretary, who possibly may not be aware of it, and this shows the disadvantage of not having a representative of the Foreign Office here to whom we might put questions. It appears that there is a definite treaty with Russia, to the effect that we would not conscript Russian nationals, while they would not conscript ours. That was the obstacle to the action which the Government desires to take. The Undersecretary for War, in opening the discussion on the Bill, did not give us any information with regard to the treaty. It is a matter of the greatest importance, it is absolutely vital, that that treaty should be got rid of if this measure is to 546 be carried out, and, therefore, the House should have been taken into the confidence of the Government on a matter of such vital importance as that which is before us. I object very strongly to the Government's asking the House for a blank cheque to legislate by Order in Council, and if it makes such a demand it ought to be with all the cards on the table, and honestly letting us know what the position is. They have not done so. They have pursued a policy of concealment, they have kept from us all knowedge that there was a treaty with Russia which prevented that policy from being carried out, and that treaty has to be got rid of before it can be carried out.
Where is the representative of the Foreign Office to tell us what the position is? The Under-Secretary for War did not go so far as to tell us what is the position as to the treaty and as to the negotiations. What is the position of the negotiations, what is the character of the negotiations, and what bearing have those negotiations upon that definite treaty? I want to put these definite questions to the hon. Gentleman before parting with a Bill of this kind. The Government are asking for powers of an enormous character, they are asking for a blank cheque, and therefore they ought, at any rate, to give us all the information they can. They ought to let us know what the position is in regard to these negotiations, and more about the perfectly definite and clear treaty which exists, and which prevents them from carrying out their policy. The Government neither tell us what is going to be done in the future nor what has already been done. They are asking the House to legislate absolutely in the dark. It is not consistent with the dignity of the House that we should be asked to legislate with an entire absence of information, and at the same time to be asked to give the Government an absolutely blank cheque in a matter so seriously affecting not only those people who are immediately concerned, but the liberties of all the subjects of the British Empire, including those in our Dominions. We know now that there have been long negotiations with Russia and with the late Russian Government, which, arbitrary as it was, saw the difficulty of reversing this policy. They saw that British subjects had never been taken in any of the Russian troubles, and had never been conscripted—indeed, that the British had 547 never done their duty in the country in which they were living and were making money, and they said, "But the moment it affects you"—that is, this country—" then you come and say to us 'you must free us from this obligation.'" We have Russian subjects in this country, a very large number of them, and you want to force them into our Army, and I can understand that even the Government of Russia saw the difficulty of reversing this policy, arbitrary though that Government was. If it were difficult for the arbitrary Russian Government to agree to that, how much more must it be for the free Government which has succeeded that Government. !
I definitely ask the Under-Secretary to give us this information and that some representative of the Foreign Office should tell us not only with regard to Russia, but also as to the other countries what is the position to-day. Are these treaties still in existence1? Have they been modified, and, if so, to what extent, and the nature and character of the modifications? I think the House ought to have that knowledge before being asked to give a blank cheque to the Government. It seems to me that the Under-Secretary put this matter upon the foundation that the Bill was necessary for the sake of man-power. Rut whose man-power? Was it for the man-power of Russia or of this country? If Russia for the sake of its man-power had demanded it, there might be something to be said for it. But we know that Russia has refused to give her assent to the abrogation of the treaty in existence. Therefore, it is not for Russian manpower. The assistance likely to be derived for the purpose of the War from proceedings of this kind seems very doubtful. This is one of those arbitrary proceedings to which the present Russian Government are taking such strong exception. If my information is correct, I understand that very considerable feeling is being displayed in Russia at the arbitrary character of proceedings in this country, and when those are to be applied to their own subjects it is quite natural that they should take a very strong interest in those proceedings. I am afraid this is not going to bring about what we all ardently desire, namely, better feeling between Russia and this country in regard to co-operation in this War. I, therefore, do appeal to the Under-Secretary to give us the information and an assurance in regard to changes 548 in the Bill and to get the Foreign Office to give us the necessary information before we can act with propriety or wisdom on a matter of this great importance.
§ Mr. KILEY
I would ask the House to consider whether there is sufficient justification for the production of this Bill, and, secondly, can the objects desired be attained by any other method than the one proposed? On the question of the necessity of the Bill I somewhat regret that the Under-Secretary, in introducing it, did not give the House as full information as he had available, as I am sure if we had it before us it would have been of considerable benefit m considering the matter. I am very much interested to find what is the extent of this problem with which we are confronted. The Under-Secretary mentioned that there were something like 30,000 Russians, of whom the greater part were in the East End of London. I claim to know a little of the borough of Stepney, with its five Parliamentary divisions, and I was anxious to obtain some definite figures. I find from the National Register figures that there were 4,900 single men of military age described as aliens. That number includes a large number of sailors and seafaring men whose stay in this country is brief. We have also in the borough a considerable number of Germans and Austrians and a large number of Dutch and Swiss, also to be deducted. Therefore, when you start reducing those from your 4,900 single men of military age, you will find that this problem has been grossly magnified and distorted. You will find that with regard to the 8,000 married men similar deductions will have to be made, and out of a total alien population in the five divisions of Stepney of men of military age of something over 12,000 you can, in my judgment, reduce that to something approaching 8,000 or 9,000 men in all who would be of military age and to whom this Bill applies, and of those 60 or 70 per cent. Russian subjects.
We have had a good deal of discussion about this matter, and a number of paragraphs have appeared in the Press. I dare say that in that connection most Members have been favoured with a circular from the London Chamber of Commerce stating that in a certain area twenty-four business premises were formerly occupied by British subjects, that those men had been called up for military service, and that their shops were now occupied by aliens. I regret 549 to question anything coming from the chamber of commerce, of which I happen to be chairman of a section. I took occasion to communicate with the chairman of the section which had issued that circular and asked for his authority. The authority was that he had been misled, that he could not give any such data and that such did not exist. I refer to that simply to show what a vast amount of prejudice has been aroused over this question. I am anxious, in the interests of the East End of London, that we should not suffer from misleading statements and also the stigma which at present attaches to us. I may mention that a friend of mine in Lincolnshire is the head of a large manufacturing concern. A few weeks ago his workpeople came out on strike, and when challenged for a reason, said that it was because of a paragraph they had seen in the papers, that they might be called up for military service and their positions taken by aliens. I quote that to show how difficult it is to get this problem in its true proportions when we have so little data. Therefore, I regret that the Under-Secretary was not a little more explicit in introducing this Bill and did not give us the reliable data which he has in his possession, and which would have been beneficial to people in the East End of London.
I want to demonstrate, if I may, that there were other means available for meeting the problem, because undoubtedly you have a certain number of these men, whether single or married, who are at the present time domiciled in this country, and, if I may say so, doing very well in this country. I do not reproach them for that. In certain of our own districts with munition factories, some of our own subjects who are also not in military service are doing very well. I am glad they are doing very well, and I am always glad when people are doing well. But I certainly think if these men are here that they should take their share of the burdens and duties of citizenship. I have maintained that from the very start. In my capacity as chairman of a recruiting committee I was pained and astounded when Russian subjects came and offered themselves for military service and were told by the recruiting people that they could not be accepted. I at once went to the War Office. All the satisfaction T got was that "the King's Regulations number so and 550 so lay it down that these men cannot be accepted." I will not be exaggerating if I say that I wore out the best part of a new pair of boots running up and down the corridors of the War Office, trying to persuade those in authority that something should be done. I volunteered to take upon myself the responsibility of organising these men, for which I had the offer of the assistance of the leading men of this nationality in the area. In spite of all my efforts, nothing occurred To-day there is a problem with which we must deal.
I am quite willing to help the Government in every way possible if they in turn will be reasonable. These men have come and have asked time after time that if they join the British Army and get into khaki they will have the rights of British citizenship. If the Under-Secretary of State for War will my that a man who takes! the oath of allegiance to the King thereby becomes a British citizen it will remove a great stumbling-block which exists in the minds of these men, and which also places people like myself, who are anxious to help the Government, in a position of considerable difficulty. All we can say to them at present is: "You had better join the Army; make your application in the ordinary way, and it will receive the ordinary treatment; you may or you may not succeed in getting your certificate of naturalisation." These people object to that attitude, not, I think, without some justification. Another point put forward—and again it is a serious matter to which I invite the attention of the Under-Secretary—is that these men are not all men of the same mind or of the same abilities. There are some who feel they would do very well in the Artillery. Some think they would do very well in the Engineers. I am given 10 understand that these men are to be conscripted, and that they will be sent into Infantry regiments alone, without any regard to their fitness for particular service or their abilities. These men raise that point, and I think they are entitled to some consideration, and also to some definite statement that if they are prepared to join the Army they should not be treated differently from other soldiers.
There is one other point on which they lay great stress, and which, I think, should have its proper consideration. I had a letter sent to me from a Russian who was born in this country. He is, I think, a London University student. He is a 551 Territorial, and has joined the Army. He has a foreign-sounding name. He has been recommended for a commission. On account, however, of his name and foreign associations, he is not considered a desirable person to receive a commission. If there is that prejudice existing, I think it is time it was removed, and that a man's case should stand on its merits, irrespective of his birthplace, or who his father was, or the foreign sound of his name. These are matters which should be considered by the War Office. If they are given the consideration which I think the War Office will be justified in giving them it will do a great deal towards removing the dissatisfaction which exists at present in the district. The district has done great things in regard to this War. We have sent out thousands and tens of thousands of our men. We have done a great deal in the way of other service. I believe the public spirit in the district is, and has been, as great as in any part of the country. With that point of view before us we are willing and anxious that the Government should have every assistance possible if they will only proceed in a reasonable way and meet the objections raised. I am, therefore, prepared to give the Bill a Second Reading on condition that the points raised will receive the very serious consideration of the War Office authorities, and that the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary is prepared to consider Amendments which would be drafted towards the object which we have so much in view.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
The few Members of the House who have had the privilege of listening to the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down will, I think, account it a very valuable contribution to the Debate. I think the hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill docs not feel perhaps more comfortable at the conclusion of the hon. Gentleman's speech than he did at the beginning. Many of the statements the hon. Gentleman made when he moved the Second Reading of this Bill have been severely handled and criticised by the speakers who have previously taken part in the Debate, but after the criticisms to which we have just listened I am afraid there is nothing remaining of the hon. Gentleman's introductory speech. My hon. Friend below me (Mr. Molteno) made a protest against the absence from the Government Bench of any representa- 552 tive of the Foreign Office. The House of Commons is becoming in these days quite accustomed to being treated with contempt by Ministers. I want to protest against the way in which the Government regard this Bill; against the way it was introduced. The way in which it has repeatedly been put down on the Order Paper shows that the Government attach very little importance to it. They seem to disregard altogether the strong opposition which prevails amongst what we must admit is a minority of the Members of the House. The Government seem to rely upon their obedient, and, so far as the knowledge of this Bill is concerned, their ignorant supporters. When I called a count a little while ago one hon. Member who rushed in at the bidding of the Government Whip inquired of another hon. Member what was the Bill which was under discussion? When it comes to a Division the Government will, no doubt, be able to get the Second Reading by the votes of men who do not even know what the Bill is upon which they are voting.
It is a most important measure. It is the fourth Military Service Bill which we have had introduced into this House during the last eighteen months. I want to tell the Government that they are not going to get this Bill quite so easily as they appear to assume. I do not know that even this Friday afternoon will be a sufficient time for the Second Reading of the measure. They certainly will get that, but only if they have taken the precaution to have a sufficient number of Members here to support them in the Closure Motion. Yesterday the Patronage Secretary, who stated the business for the coming week, mentioned, in quite an incidental way, that an hour or two might be occupied by the Committee stage of this Bill on Wednesday of next week. I can tell the Government—and therefore they can be making their preparations—that they will not get the Committee stage of this Bill in an hour or two, and that they will not get it next Wednesday. They will not get it in one day. We shall require several days for the Committee stage of this Bill.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Maclean)
Sufficient to the day is the Com- 553 mittee stage of the Bill. I would remind the hon. Gentleman that we are now on the Second Reading.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
With all respect to your ruling, Mr. Maclean, I am simply, as I said, making a protest against the way in which the Government think to get forward this Bill. I will not pursue the protest any further. What is this Bill? It is, as I said just now, a Bill to extend the provisions of the Military Service Act, and to apply the operations of that Act outside our own country. It seems to me to be a most extraordinary thing that this House should be engaged in legislating outside the area of the British Empire. As I understand this Bill, the countries with which conventions are made are given the power to impose all the conditions of the British Military Service Acts upon British subjects who are residing in that foreign country with which the convention is made. I want to submit to the hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill that that is not only an extraordinary thing to do, a most unfair thing to do, an unjust thing to do, but I think it is an impracticable thing to do. Under our Military Service Acts certain statutory rights, at any rate, were given to men who came within their provisions. They were entitled to put forward claims for exemption upon certain grounds specified in the Acts. For the purpose of hearing these appeals military service tribunals were set up, and elaborate Regulations have been framed by the Local Government. Board and by the War Office for the guidance of these tribunals. It is, of course, within the knowledge of everybody who has watched these proceedings that both the Act of Parliament itself and the Regulations have been treated with contemptuous indifference. We have been repeatedly told by these tribunals, when claims have been made, that they were not bound by any pledges of Ministers, and quite illegal decisions have in hundreds of cases been given.
As I understand this Bill, a British subject in some foreign country, say, the United States of America, who comes within the operation of this Bill, when it becomes an Act of Parliament, will be entitled to all the privileges which a British subject in Great Britain has under the Military Service Acts. I want to know how he is going to secure those privileges in the United States or in some other foreign country. If I read this Bill rightly, 554 a statement that was made by the Undersecretary when introducing the Bill is not in accordance with the provisions of this measure. As I read his speech, he said that it will rest with the Ambassador or other Minister in the country where those persons happen to reside to give a certificate of exemption. That was the statement made by the Under-Secretary, but I do not read that in the Bill. The Bill says that all the provisions of the Military Service Acts of last year shall apply to these persons. It says, "Those Acts shall apply accordingly, subject to the following modifications." The first modification deals with the appointed date, and the second modification deals with the exceptions under the Military Service Acts, 1916 and 1917. I suppose the Military Service Act of 1917 means that notorious Review of Exceptions Act about the administration of which so much has been heard in the House of Commons. The paragraph in the Bill says:A subject of the contracting country shall be deemed to be within the exceptions under the Military Service Acts, 1916 and 1917, if he is the holder of a certificate of exemption for the time being in force granted under those Acts or by the Ambassador or a duly authorised public Minister of that country in the United Kingdom but not otherwise:I may be wrong, but it does seem to me as a layman that those two things are separate and distinct, and that the first part of the provision is to be read that a person coming within the operation of the Military Service Acts residing in a foreign country shall be able to obtain a certificate of exemption on any grounds specified in these two Military Service Acts. If I am right in that view, you will have to set up in these foreign countries military service tribunals similar to those which exist in this country. How are you going to do it? You are going to impose upon the Government of the country with which a convention is made the obligation to administer the Act. What you are practically doing is to extend the Military Service Acts which have been passed in this country to any other country with which a convention is made, and that country, as I have said, will have to set up these military service tribunals for the purpose of hearing claims on any of the grounds set forth in those Acts which may be made by British subjects in those countries.
555 What is the other course? It is that the Ambassador or Minister in that country shall take the place of the military service tribunal which we have here. Is this House prepared to agree to that? That is no democratic principle. I remember, when we were discussing the first Military Service Act, the tribunals were defended on the ground that they were democratic institutions. They may be democratic in their constitution; they certainly have been anything but democratic in their sympathies. They have been the most tyrannical, oppressive, and autocratic bodies which we ever set up in this House, and their decisions have had no parallel in English administration since the days of Judge Jeffreys. If those men in a country with which a convention is to be made are not to have the right of a democratically constituted military service tribunal, they have to apply to the British Minister or Ambassador in that country for an exemption. What mercy are they going to get from him? Who is he? What democratic sympathies has that man got? That man is the agent of the British Government. It is his duty—a duty for which he is paid—to carry out the directions and the instructions of the British Government, and therefore this proposal is a mere farce. It is quite as big a farce as the administration of the Military Service Acts has been in the hands of the tribunals. Therefore, in either case, or in both cases, you are not putting British subjects in foreign countries on the same footing as those who are liable to military service in Great Britain. They are not going to have the same right to claim exemption on any of the grounds specified in those Acts.
This Bill is to extend the existing Military Service Acts to people who hitherto have been outside these Acts, and, therefore, I think I should be perfectly in order in asking whether our experience of the working of the Military Service Acts in this country, in view of the widespread injustice and hardship which have been inflicted by the administration of these Acts, justifies us in giving to the Government power to bring in some tens of thousands of persons who are at the present time outside these measures. Those Members who are listening to me need not be reminded by me that I attach no value whatever to any pledge that is given by a Member of the Government. During the passage of the Military Service Bills we 556 had innumerable pledges given in regard to safeguards and protection, and not one of them has been kept. I remember the late Prime Minister upon one occasion actually bursting into poetry about the poor widows' sons, and giving the most solemn assurance that the only surviving son of a widow should not be called up for military service, and words which were thought to carry out the Prime Minister's pledge were inserted in the Act. Tens of thousands of sons, the only son of widows, have been conscripted in spite ol that, i had this very morning a letter from a man in Burnley who has been called up under the Military Service Act; he has appealed to the local tribunal and failed; he has been before the Appeal Tribunal and failed. He has had to send his mother into the workhouse because he was her only support. There are tens of thousands of such cases in the country. When the Under-Secretary spoke on the Second Reading he justified this Bill on the ground that there was a good deal of indignation m the East End of London. owing to the businesses of British subjects who had been called up under the Military Service Act being taken over by aliens. I think that argument is very largely disposed of by the interesting and amusing incident which was related by the hon. Member who has just sat down, who has shown that in the case of the London Chamber of Commerce where the statement had been made that in one small district twenty-five shops had been vacated by British subjects who had been called up for military service had been taken over by aliens, when the statement was investigated it was discovered that there was no truth at all in that assertion. But even if it were so, that is no reason why this House should pass this Bill.
One of the most exciting Debates we had on the second Military Service Bill was that dealing with the one-business case, and the most definite assurances were given that those cases would receive consideration; in fact, special provisions were put in the Bill, and special instructions were issued by the Local Government Board. What has happened? I was in a town in Yorkshire two or three days ago and I saw a number of empty shops with a printed notice in the window, "This business is for the present closed, as the owner has been called up on military service." If other hon. Members have correspondence like my own, every 557 day they are getting letters from one-man business men who have businesses which have been closed down by the tribunals, and therefore it is no argument in support of this Bill to say that it is attempting to prevent a hardship which otherwise British subjects would suffer through having been called up for military service, because that hardship would not exist in regard to one-man businesses if the Act had been carried out, because legally these men were exempted from military service by the provisions of the Act. This Bill definitely proposes to apply the last Military Service Act, known as the Review of Exceptions Act, to these people. At Question Time every day we hear of the way in which this Act is being administered, and I do not believe there is a Member of this House who does not receive every day letters from his constituents about the way in which the medical board are treating men under this Act. In view of this, I ask: Is the House of Commons justified in passing a Bill which is going to extend this Act, this Review of Exceptions Act, to tens of thousands of other men? I submit that it is not.
Then with regard to aliens in this country who, if this Bill be passed, will be brought within its operation. I assume at any rate, whatever may be the position of British subjects in foreign countries with which a Convention has been made, aliens in this country will have the opportunity of appealing under the Military Service Act. But here, again, they are not quite in the same position as British subjects, because many of them are largely ignorant of the English language. They will come before the tribunals, who are prejudiced against them. Those who are following the work of these tribunals to-day are well aware that, bad as was the way in which applicants were treated in the early days, they are being treated much worse to-day. Many of these men, for reasons which were quite justifiable, held back from enlistment and they have been treated as shirkers. These men will have to appear before the. tribunals with that prejudice against them, and they will also have the further prejudice of the disability to which I have referred of not understanding the English language, and consequently will not be able properly to put their case before the tribunal. The Under-Secretary when he introduced this Bill justified its introduction on the ground that it was going to bring into the 558 Army a very large number of men. I think that statement has been very effectively disposed of by the facts which have been given by the hon. Member for one of the East End Divisions.
The hon. Gentleman said he expected to get out of the East End of London alone something like 20,000 Russians by the operation of this Bill when it becomes an Act of Parliament. As a matter of fact, they are not there, and you cannot get them. This Bill really has a long history. There has been an agitation for forcing aliens into foreign service ever since the first Military Service Bill became law. The late Home Secretary (Mr. Herbert Samuel) took a lively interest in this question, but his interest never matured so far as to do anything practical, and I believe that if the right hon. Gentleman were to speak this afternoon he would admit, if he were free to admit, that he found the question an extremely difficult one to deal with; in fact, that he found it to be almost impossible to frame any practical scheme to deal with this subject. Since then the Russian Revolution has taken place, and it has somewhat altered the position of the Russian people in England. Before the Revolution they were opposed to compulsory military service, and they did not want to go back to Russia, but now circumstances have changed, and if there were sufficient shipping accommodation thousands of them would be ready to go back to Russia, because they want to be on the spot to share in the excitement of the work of the great transformation which has taken place in Russia. This Bill does not provide for that. The Under-Secretary for War on the Second Reading of this Bill said he would do that, but he has admitted that the Bill does not propose to do it, and all he says is that some negotiations are going on with the Russian Government by which it is hoped some arrangement of that sort might be adopted. In reply to a question put to me by the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs to-day we were told that these negotiations were still going on, and I think they are likely to go on for a long time.
We have to recognise that this Bill is likely to become law in the course of a few weeks' time, and it will at once become operative, and when it does those Russians in England will have no alternative or choice. They will have only one 559 course, and that will be to join the British Army. They do not want to do that. Many of them in the changed conditions which exist in Russia are quite willing to join the Russian Army, but they are not willing to fight in the army of a country of which they are not citizens. I would like to support the point made by the hon. Member for White-chapel (Mr. Kiley), that if you are going to take these men compulsorily you have no right to deprive them of the other rights which British citizens enjoy. I do not think, therefore, that the House would be justified in passing this Bill into law until there was an opportunity given to all these Russian subjects—and the same thing applies to the subjects of other countries—to enlist in the army of the country of their birth. There is not the least possibility—there may be a possibility, but there is no probability—that any such arrangement will be concluded before this Bill becomes law. Therefore, there is reason why the House of Commons should suspend its judgment upon this measure until we know definitely what the Russian Government think about it.
This Bill is a complete reversal of the historic tradition of this country. One of the proudest boasts that we have had as Englishmen has been that this was not only a land of freedom, but that it was a place to which the oppressed of all nations could come and know that the moment their feet touched the soil of this country they were free men. It may be said that many of the Russian refugees, for whom it would have been extremely dangerous to return to Russia before the Revolution, have no longer any excuse to impose upon our hospitality. But that does not apply to others. This Bill is not confined to the relations between Russia and this country, but applies to any country with which during the War this Government may at any time make a convention. I think the right of asylum in this country is a thing of such tremendous importance, and of which Englishmen have been so proud, that we ought not, even under the stress and necessity of war, to abrogate it; and, apart from all other reasons, I shall oppose this Bill upon that ground. I do not believe the Bill is worth the trouble of attempting to operate it. It is going to get a very small number of men. I do not believe that it will get anything like a division of men.
560 3.0 P.M.
A mere handful of men will be obtained by it. When the House was asked to pass the previous Military Service Acts we were told what an enormous number of men would be obtained thereby. We have never been supplied with any figures as to the yield of these measures, and I am certain, if we were, that the yield would be found to be surprisingly small. I do not think that I exaggerate if I say that four-fifths of the number of men taken since the passage of the first Military Service Act were men already in the Army in the sense of being voluntarily attested men. The number of British subjects living in foreign countries whom you are going to get by this Bill must be infinitesimal. This Bill especially excludes Ireland. You dare not apply the Military Service Acts to Ireland, but you are going to apply this Bill to Canada, providing the agitation which is going on there in favour of conscription is successful, and from what one can read in the papers there appears to be little prospect of Canada quietly accepting conscription. I know from first-hand information that organised labour from Toronto to Vancouver is up in arms against the measure and is united in opposing these conscriptionist schemes. The United States has adopted a sort of Conscription Act. The newspapers this week have been telling us about the enthusiasm with which more than 10,000,000 men have been registered, but frankly I do not believe it. I have been watching very closely the news from America which is now permitted to appear in British newspapers. It is utterly untrustworthy. I am told by newspaper men that the censorship has never been imposed so rigorously since the War began as it is now being imposed upon news which is sent from the United States. I want to point out the difficulty that there will be in the United States of America in carrying out any convention which—
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I submit that these are British subjects, upon whom the United States Government would have to exercise the powers to be conferred by this House.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The difficulties in the way of the United States Government do not concern us on this Bill.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
My point is that the United States Government -will be our agents in the carrying out of this Act, so far as the conscription of British subjects is concerned. As a matter of fact, they are doing it already, and I assume that arrangements have been made. Surely, the United States Government would not be enrolling men in the British Army unless some arrangements had been made between that Government and our Government. However, if conscription be passed in Canada, and it has already been passed in the United States, we shall be able to take men into the British Army in Canada, while unable to take men in Ireland. I am not using this point because I am in favour of the extension of the Military Service Acts to Ireland. I have opposed, as the House knows, every line and every Clause of all the Military Service Acts. I do not believe in conscription for this country, and therefore I do not
§ believe in conscription for any other country. I do not believe that the Conscription Acts which are now upon the Statute Book of this country will help to win the War. I do not believe that you have; a stronger Army to-day than you would have had if these measures had not been passed. I am perfectly sure that you. have more disunity in the country as a consequence of these measures, and if you pass this Bill you are adding to all these difficulties without getting any compensating advantage. Therefore, for all these reasons I shall oppose the Second Reading and the Bill at all its stages.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir G. Cave)
rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 151; Noes, 16.563
|Division No. 48.]||AYES.||[3.5 p.m.|
|Ainsworth, Sir John Stirling||Foster, Philip Staveley||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||O'Dowd, John|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gilbert, J. D.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Griffith, Rt. Hon. Ellis Jones||Parrott, Sir James Edward|
|Barnett, Capt. R. W.||Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)|
|Beale, Sir William Phlpson||Harris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.)||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Haslam, Lewis||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Pratt, J. W.|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Hinds, John||Pretyman Rt. Hon. E. G.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Prothero, Rt. Hon. Rowland Edmund|
|Bigland, Alfred||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Rawson, Colonel R. H.|
|Blair, Reginald||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Hope, Lieut.-Col J. A. (Midlothian)||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)|
|Boyton, James||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Reid, Rt. Hon. Sir George H|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Ingleby, Holcombe||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Brookes, Warwick||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Broughton, Urban Hanion||Johnston, Sir Christopher||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Burgoyne, A. H.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rowlands, James|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Rutherford, Sir John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Cator, John||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Samuels, Arthur W.|
|Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Kenyon, Barnet||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Clevaland)|
|Cawley, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Malton)||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Robert (Herts, Hitchin)||Lewis. Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Shaw, Hon. A.|
|Chapple, Major William Allen||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Shortt, Edward|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Locker-Lampson, G. (Sailsbury)||Smith, Sir Swire (Keighley, Yorks)|
|Clynes, John R.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Mackinder, Halford J.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Sir A. H. (Asht'n-u-Lyne)|
|Cowan, Sir W. H.||Macleod, John Mackintosh||Stirling, Lieut.-Colonel A.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Macmaster, Donald||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Henry Page||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Crooks, Rt. Hon. William||Macpherson, James Ian||Walsh, Stephen (Lincs, Ince)|
|Currie, George W.||Maden, Sir John Henry||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Wardle, George J.|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Meux, Hon. Sir Hedworth||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.||Money, Sir L. G. Chiozza||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Morgan, George Hay||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wilson, Lt.-Cl. Sir M. (Beth'l Green, S. W.)|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Fell, Arthur||Newman, John R. P.||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Nolan, Joseph||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Fleming, Sir J. (Aberdeen, S.)||Norton-Griffiths, Sir John||Wood. John (Stalybridge)|
|Forster, Rt. Hon. Henry William||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Worthington Evans, Major Sir L.|
|Yate, Colonel Charles Edward||Young, William (Perthshire, East)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Yeo, Alfred William||Yoxall, Sir James Henry||Lord Edmund Talbot and Captain F. Guest.|
|Anderson, W. C.||King, Joseph||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Snewden, Philip|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury. E.)||Molteno, Persy Alport||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Byrne, Alfred||Morrell, Philip|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Nuttall, Harry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Outhwaite, R. L.||Whitehouse and Mr. Lees Smith.|
|Jowett, Frederick William|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."564
§ The House divided: Ayes, 150; Noes, 19.563
|Division No. 49.]||AYES.||[3.12 p.m.|
|Ainsworth, Sir John Stirling||Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Amory, L. C. M. S.||Gilbert, J. D.||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Pratt, J. W.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Griffith, Rt. Hon. Ellis Jones||Pretyman Rt. Hon. E. G.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William||Prothero, Rt. Hon. Rowland Edmund|
|Barnett, Captain R. W.||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Harris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Haslam, Lewis||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Herbert Hon. Aubrey||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Hewart, Sir Gordon||Reid, Rt. Hon. Sir George H|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hinds, John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hope, Lieut. Col. J. A. (Midlothian)||Rowlands, James|
|Blair, Reginald||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Rutherford, Sir John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Samuels, Arthur W.|
|Boyton, James||Ingleby, Holcombe||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Bridgeman, William clive||Johnston, Sir Christopher||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Brookes, Warwick||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Shortt, Edward|
|Broughton, Urban Hanien||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Smith, Sir Swire (Keighley, Yorks)|
|Burgeyne, A. H.||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Kenyon, Barnet||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Cator, John||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Melton)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Sir A. H. (Asht'n-u-Lyne)|
|Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Stirling, Lieut.-Colonel A,|
|Cawley, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Robert(Herts, Hitchin)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Chapple, Major William Allen||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Clyde, J. Avon||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Clynes, John R.||Mackinder, H. J.||Wardle, George J.|
|Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Macleod, John Mackintosh||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Macmaster, Donald||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Cowan, Sir W. H.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Macpherson, James Ian||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Henry page||Maden, Sir John Henry||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)|
|Crooks, Rt. Hon. William||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Williams J. (Glamorgan)|
|Currie, George W.||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wilson, Lt.-CI. Sir M. (Beth'l Green, S. W.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Meux, Hon. Sir Hedworth||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Money, Sir L. G. Chlozza||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.||Morgan, George Hay||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Worthington Evans, Major Sir L.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-ln-Furness)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Yate. Colonel C. E.|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Newman, John R. P.||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Fell, Arthur;||Norton-Griffiths, Sir John||Young, William (Perth, E.)|
|Finney, Samuel||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Fleming, Sir J. (Aberdeen, S.)||Parrott, Sir James Edward||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Forster, Rt. Hon. Henry William||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Lord Edmund Talbot and Captain Guest.|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)|
|Anderson, W. C.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Molteno, Percy Alport||Snowden, Philip|
|Devlin, Joseph||Morrell, Philip||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West);||Nolan, Joseph|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Nuttall, Harry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Keating, Matthew||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Whitehouse and Mr. Lees Smith.|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Wednesday next.—[Mr. Macpherson.]