"jehovah's Witnesses."

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Defence. – in the House of Commons on 12th March 1942.

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Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to a recent case where a Miss Hercock refused to take employment as a wardmaid in a hospital, stating that she was a member of the International Bible Students' Association, otherwise "Jehovah's Witnesses," and had signed an unwritten covenant with Jehovah only to preach the Gospel; and whether steps will be taken to suppress this association, which is a national menace and is being used by a number of persons as a cloak for Fifth Column activities?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I have recently had under review the activities of this organisation, and while I think it would be an exaggeration to describe it as a cloak for Fifth Column activities, the potential dangers of a misuse of this organisation, at any rate in war-time cannot be overlooked. I have recently given instructions for the internment of certain aliens of enemy nationality who were reported to me as having taken an active part in the organisation, and I shall continue to keep a careful watch upon it, and shall not hesitate to take any further action which I may deem appropriate in the interests of national security.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that great satisfaction will be given by his answer? Is he also aware that the magistrates who heard the case described the association as a national menace?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I am always interested to know of the remarks made by magistrates.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that when any Government suppresses religious organisations, they always grow under persecution?

Photo of Mr Ian Hannah Mr Ian Hannah , Wolverhampton Bilston

Is this a religious organisation?