Britain Acts to Ease Internment Policy; 18 Alien Groups Eligible for Release
Menu JTA Search

Britain Acts to Ease Internment Policy; 18 Alien Groups Eligible for Release

Download PDF for this date

Home Secretary Sir John Anderson tonight issued a White Paper establishing 18 categories of internees whose release would be considered under application and detailing the procedure which would be followed in each case.

In general the paper does not establish further exemptions than those previously announced.

It points out, however, that further categories may subsequently be added after being reviewed by the advisory committee on internment. This committee, composed of Justice Asquith, Sir Herbert Emerson, director of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees and League of Natins High Commissioner for Refugees, and Sir Neill Malcomlm, former League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, held its first meeting today. The committee was formed to keep under review the application of principles laid down regarding internments, to make recommendations and suggestions to Sir John and examine and make recommendations and group cases referred to it.

The White Paper makes it clear that persons about to emigrate cannot be released pending their departure and points out that “facilities will be given for the attendance of internees who have United States quota numbers at the American Consulate for necessary interviews, when a visa is granted and passage obtained the alien is taken to an aeroport of departure.” Similar consideration is accorded to emigrants proceeding to other countries.

It was understood that today’s action followed conferences among consular officials and British authorities regarding the large numbers of refugees unable to complete formalities for securing visas. To aid them, the American Consulate established a branch office near Huyton camp.

The White Paper removes some of the most obvious complaints against the internment procedure. It grants exemptions for persons under 16 and over 70: the invalid or infirm; youths under 18 residing with British families or in schools; skilled workers, scientists and researchers whose work is of national importance; employers of British labor; doctors and dentists authorized to practice or study; persons who served in the armed forces or have been accepted for the Pioneer Corps or who have a British-born or naturalized son serving in the forces; ministers, except of the German Church, and officials of refugee organizations.

The campaign for a reversal of the Government’s internment policy, designed to make internment an exception instead of the rule is still proceeding in Parliament and in the press and in the press.

Wickham Steed, former editor of The Times, in a letter to the Picture Post, denounced the present policy as an ” egregious and avoidable blunder.” He charged that the policy had resulted in at least 12 suicides in a fortnight.

Among the internees already released is Martin Rosenblueth, head of the Commission for Settlement of German Jews in Palestine.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund