§ 45. Sir William Davison
asked the Prime Minister whether the Government are aware of the ease with which any of the large numbers of German agents in Eire can cross and recross the frontier between Eire and Northern Ireland in order 1486 to obtain full particulars of the British forces now stationed in Ulster as well as details of the anti-invasion manoeuvres which are continually taking place, the information so gained being despatched to Germany in the sealed diplomatic bags from the German legation in Dublin; and whether steps will be taken to deal with this menace to the safety of Britain?
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I have been asked to reply. My hon. Friend is under a misapprehension in suggesting that no precautions have been taken to hinder German agents crossing and recrossing the-border between Eire and Northern Ireland. Much attention has been given to this matter, and he may be assured that all practicable steps have been taken and will continue to be taken to deal with this as with any other possible channel for leakage of information.
§ Sir W. Davison
May I ask whether the Government do not recognise that this is a matter of extreme urgency, and that while there is still time we should safeguard Great Britain with regard to this vital gap in our defences against invasion? Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that a German aerodrome or several aerodromes could easily be established in a single night, and that it is quite possible to land perhaps 60,000 or 70,000 German troops, while it would take a long time to get any large force of British troops across the Border?
§ Mr. Morrison
Yes, Sir, the Government fully realise the great importance of the point put in the first part of the hon. Member's Question. Everything that is possible in the desired direction is being done. The second part raises military matters with which it would not be wise for me to deal.
§ Sir H. O'Neill
Is it not the case, while I know that many efforts have been made to try and improve restrictions on the Border, that the position is still most unsatisfactory; and will the right hon. Gentleman himself, in conjunction with the Prime Minister, go into that matter personally with a view to trying to effect an improvement?
§ Mr. Shinwell
When my right hon. Friend speaks of taking precautions, does that include also taking precautions to 1487 make certain that no secret information is conveyed in the diplomatic bags from the German Embassy in Dublin? Have we any power to prevent that?
§ Mr. Morrison
I suggest that it would be clearly contrary to the public interest to make any statement as to various measures taken in the control of the sending of information out of the British Isles. My hon. Friend can accept my assurance that all possibilities are borne in mind.
§ Sir W. Davison
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that in addition to diplomatic bags there is a transmitting station at the German Legation in Dublin which communicates direct to Berlin in code?
§ Professor Savory
Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the control of passengers passing between Northern and Southern Ireland? Is he aware that I myself was ready to produce my identity card and was only asked the amount of butter I was bringing with me?