Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams and others to the Editor of The Times

Letter No.: 
[Tuesday July 23, 1940]

The White Gates,
Westcott Road,

We, the undersigned, without presuming to criticize the principle of the Government's general internment policy, are aware that certain hardships connected with it could be rapidly disposed of. The following three points occur:-
1. Jewish and other refugees from Nazi oppression should not be interned with Nazi sympathizers. Could not the War Office make the distinction rapidly so as to avoid scenes of persecution such as have already been alleged?
2. Refugee husbands and wives, especially those between the ages of 50 and 70, should not be separated. Would it not be possible for the War Office to institute special camps for elderly married couples, as well asĀ for young people aged 16 to 18, using existing large refugee hostels, which could be well guarded and run by an English warden?
3. We understand that tribunals may be set up in the camps with a view to exempting certain refugees. We feel that it is important that people with wide Continental experience should be included in these tribunals. Suitable names could be obtained from the Central Register.
Yours faithfully,

E.M. Forster, H.H. Gordon Clark,1 Wilfrid Greene,2 Newcastle,3 Ralph Vaughan Williams

1. Retired Colonel and High Sheriff of Surrey.
2. Greene was a lawyer and judge, and at this time Master of the Rolls
3. The 8th Duke of Newcastle owned Deepdene, near the home of VW in Dorking.

General notes: 

Presumably this letter was instigated by VW as it was sent from his address. Printed in The Times, Tuesday July 23, 1940, p. 5.

The Times (48675), Tuesday July 23, 1940, p. 5.