Clause 3. — (Saving of 33 & 34 Vict., c. 90.)

Orders of the Day — TREATIES OF WASHINGTON BILL [Lords.] – in the House of Commons on 10th July 1922.

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Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

This Clause deals with the provisions affecting the Foreign Enlistment Act, 1870. As far as I can ascertain, that Act is practically a dead letter. Anyone can enlist abroad, as recent events have shown.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

On a point of Order. The effect of Clause 3 is to add the provisions of this Act to the provision of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 1870. Whether the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 1370, are a dead letter or not does not affect this Clause.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I always allow an hon. Member a certain exordium, in order to give him a chan[...]e to bring into order what at the first blush would seem to be out of order. I shall watch the hon. and gallant Gentleman with not less vigilance than does the right hon. Baronet.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

I may save time if, before developing my argument, I ask for an assurance from the Government that if we add this Clause and attach the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act, the provisions of that Act will be carried out. Would that be in order?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I believe this Clause means that if the passing of this Bill raises any doubt as to the validity of the Foreign Enlistment Act, that doubt shall be resolved, and it will be made quite clear that the Foreign Enlistment Act does remain the law of the land. It seems to me purely a question of the removal of possible doubt.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

With that object, I would like to ask for the assurance I have mentioned. The Foreign Enlistment Act has been recently a dead letter. We have allowed our men to enlist in foreign armies, almost with the assistance of the Government. Unemployed ex-service men were allowed to enlist in the Spanish Army in Morocco, and there have been other examples.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Yes, and Russia. We have lost quite enough men in Russia. That is a wound which I invite the hon. and gallant Member not to open. I was referring to what I hoped was non-controversial— the enlistment of British soldiers in the Spanish Army. I think there was a great breach of the law in permitting those men to go abroad.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I think this discussion is beyond the scope of the Clause. This is merely a provision for the removal of possible doubts, and we cannot question the policy or the application of the Foreign Enlistment Act as a whole.

Clauses 4 (Trial and Punishment for Violation, of Rules as to warfare against commerce) and 5 (Extent of Act) ordered to stand part of the Bill.