Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/103

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97
THE PERIL OF THE ENEMY ALIEN

The debate which followed was illuminating. Sir Henry Dalziel, who is strongly in favour of a Central Board to deal with spies among us—a suggestion I made in my recent book "German Spies in England," as a satisfactory solution of the problem—said, in the course of a splendid speech, that the Government knew that, at the present moment, there was a settled spy-system, and there was no use denying it. As the Daily Telegraph on the following day pointed out, that there is such a system is almost as natural an assumption as that the enemy possesses an army service organisation or a Press censorship. I have already pointed out, in various books I have written, that systematic espionage is, and has been for many years, a most cherished part of German war administration, developed with characteristic thoroughness. The question is whether that department of the enemy's activity has, or has not, been stamped out as regards this country; and it would be idle to pretend that there is any public confidence that it has been stamped out.

There is an absence of vigour and an absence of system about the dealing with this source of danger, and I maintain that the national safety requires the taking of this matter more seriously, and the placing of it upon a satisfactory footing. The Government admitted that, on March 3rd, seven hundred male enemy aliens were living in the East Coast prohibited area, and we know that arrangements for their control are so futile as to leave, quite unmolested, some individuals whose known connections expose them to the highest degree of suspicion. Of one such notorious case, Mr. Bonar Law—who cannot, surely, be accused of spy-mania—declared that he would as soon have allowed a German army to land as allow the person in question to be at large in this