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Spanish Nationals

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 19 May 1949

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17 and 26.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if, in accordance with his policy of not obliging aliens to return to countries in which they are likely to suffer political or religious persecution, he will give a general undertaking that Spanish refugees of whose opposition to the Franco régime the Spanish authorities can be shown to be aware, will not be deported to Spain;

(2) if, in reviewing the case of Aquilino Diaz Molieda, a Spanish Republican refugee whose deportation was delayed on Easter Eve after he had been taken on board a ship about to sail for Spain, he will bear in mind that this man served for three years in the British Army, that his Spanish passport has been endorsed in this country with particulars of his political record, including his arrest for taking part in the Asturias rising in 1934, and that others who took part in this rising have recently been executed in Spain; and if he will cause this deportation order to be revoked.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will cancel the deportation order made against Aquilino Diaz, in view of the fact that Mr. Diaz's Spanish political activities are known to the Spanish Government, and that he would consequently be in danger if he returned to Spain.

Aquilino Diaz, who left Spain in 1936, joined the Royal Pioneer Corps when our Forces arrived in North Africa, and was discharged in this country in 1946. In March, 1948, he and two other Spaniards were charged with breaking and entering a shop, stealing property and having a a loaded fire-arm in their possession. He was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment, and the court recommended that he should be deported. I have made a deportation order but I have postponed its enforcement in order to give him an opportunity to make his own arrangements to leave the country. In the exercise of my power to deport aliens I must have regard to the merits of each individual case, and I could not give the general undertaking asked for by my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg). But I would, of course, carefully consider any information of the nature indicated by him, and the fact that Diaz was arrested in Spain in 1934 will be taken into account if I have to consider the enforcement of the deportation order against him.

While fully aware of the bad history of this man since the war, may I ask my right hon. Friend if it is not the case that, in the somewhat comparable cases of E.V.W. s or other people from Eastern Europe who commit offences, they are not all repatriated to their countries of origin, for the reasons indicated in my first Question?

No, Sir. I would not say that. If any alien is found in this country engaged in robbery in association with armed persons, I should feel bound to deport him. I have enough of such criminals of native origin. I do have regard, however, to what is likely to happen to a person because of his political or religious beliefs in the country to which he is returning, but I cannot undertake to keep in this country people who engage in these practices.

I do not think that my right hon. Friend has quite understood or answered my question. Is it not the case that, although such people must be deported, they are not necessarily deported to their country of origin? For example, are not people from Eastern Europe commonly deported to Western Germany?

No, Sir. I would not say that that was a common practice. After all, the only place to which I can legally deport a person is his country of origin, but I try to help these people as far as I can by allowing them to get out under their own power, if they are willing to do so.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether he or his officials have seen the Spanish passport issued to this man?