[ilds] Durrell's British citizenship

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Fri Jun 1 09:21:39 PDT 2007

Thanks, Michael for the thorough explanation.  I'm still puzzled by British law.  Having recognized there was a problem with the Act of 1966, why didn't Parliament correct it?  Such as extend the time to register as a British citizen?  Surely Lawrence Durrell wasn't the only UK "citizen" suddenly finding himself a foreigner in his own country, because of some arcane provision in the act.  I guess the answer is obvious.  Parliament did not consider that a "problem."  This sounds a little like the current debate in the U.S. over immigration policy.


-----Original Message-----
>From: Michael Haag <michaelhaag at btinternet.com>
>Sent: Jun 1, 2007 8:56 AM
>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] Durrell's British citizenship
>Durrell was British and held a British passport; at no point in his 
>life was he stateless.
>However, in the 1960s the British woke up to the fact that if everyone 
>who had been born in the British Empire chose to travel at once, and in 
>particular chose to come to Britain, something like a billion people 
>could show up on an afternoon.  And so a limitation was placed on 
>freedom of entry to Britain based on ancestry (father's birth in 
>Britain, I think -- sorry, I do not have the exact details to hand) or 
>established residence in Britain.  Durrell's family -- his mother, 
>sister and brothers -- were all resident in Britain and were therefore 
>British under those previous arrangements and needed to do nothing; in 
>fact they were probably entirely unaware of the change in law.  But 
>Durrell was living abroad, and he would have needed to register -- 
>simply by going to his nearest British consulate.  But he was unaware 
>of the new conditions.  He only discovered the situation some years 
>later when he went to get his passport renewed at the consulate at Nice 
>(I think it was), and they explained that they could not give him a 
>British passport with free right of entry to Britain; instead he would 
>have to obtain a visa.  His situation was something like that which 
>Bruce describes below.
>Durrell knew the British ambassador to Paris at the time and raised the 
>matter with him, who in turn raised it with the Foreign Office and the 
>Home Office.  I have looked at these papers.  Everyone bent over 
>backwards to remedy the situation, but the law had been passed, Durrell 
>had missed the boat, and it was decided at the highest level that an 
>exception could not be made for one man.  What the authorities did do, 
>however, was to offer to put Durrell on the British consular payroll 
>(again at Nice, I think) -- I am writing this off the top of my head 
>without looking at my notes so I am not giving you the precise 
>legalities and justifications for all this -- which some how would have 
>got round the problem; I think it was because it could then be argued 
>that this was an extension of Durrell's foreign service employment 
>which would have entitled him to automatic continuation as a British 
>citizen with a British passport with full privileges.  All Durrell had 
>to do was to show up at the consulate very occasionally, once or twice 
>a month or whatever, probably have a drink, and then go home again.  
>But he chose not to accept that; quite simply he was too busy.  He was 
>content enough to enter Britain as a British citizen with a British 
>passport but also with the need to carry a visa.  Durrell was always 
>British; at no time was he stateless.
>In short, changing times and changing laws.  Until the 1960s Durrell 
>was British and enjoyed the full benefits of British citizenship.  
>Afterwards Durrell was still British and still a British passport 
>holder but with the qualification that he would need a visa to enter 
>Britain.  The British government did everything in its reasonable 
>powers to make good the situation.  Durrell himself felt unable to 
>avail himself of their solution.  There were no bad feelings.
>Incidentally, had Durrell been Irish this problem would not have 
>arisen.  The definition of Irish nationality is that one parent or 
>grandparent was born in Ireland.  Anyone satisfying that condition is 
>Irish at birth (whether they know it or not) and is entitled to an 
>Irish passport.  Moreover under British law anyone of Irish nationality 
>is entitled to live, work and vote in Britain.  No visa is required.  I 
>believe that the same applies in reverse.
>On Friday, June 1, 2007, at 03:00  pm, <richardpin at eircom.net> wrote:
>> I think Michael H can illuminate this - the 'revelation' in 2002 was, 
>> I think, in the Guardian newspaper (UK) and explained why LD did not, 
>> in fact, hold a full British passport.
>> RP
>> Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca wrote:
>> <
>> <  Yes, can someone clear up this matter about LD's passport?  I think 
>> it's false.  Born of British parents in a British colony and not 
>> British?  Sounds absurd.  Moreover, as Lea asks, how could he have 
>> worked all those years in the British Foreign Office and not have been 
>> a UK citizen?  I know that in Hong Kong, before 1997, people born in 
>> the Crown Colony were issued a special British passport, which looked 
>> like a regular passport but was actually a "travel document."  It 
>> enabled the holder to travel as a UK citizen, but it did not give the 
>> bearer all the rights of one.  I.e., the bearer could not claim 
>> residence in the UK.  Is something like this the basis of the rumor?
>> <
>> <  Bruce
>> <
>> <  -----Original Message-----
>> <  >From: Lea Stogdale <leadale at mts.net>
>> <  >Sent: May 31, 2007 9:00 PM
>> <  >To: "'ilds at lists.uvic.ca'" <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
>> <  >Subject: [ilds] Stateless
>> <  >
>> <  >Durrell's nationless status was revealed in 2002-born in India yet 
>> not
>> <  >Indian and never holding British citizenship despite working as a 
>> British
>> <  >civil servant.
>> <  >
>> <  >What passport did he hold?
>> <  >Lea
>> <  >
>> <
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