[ilds] Durrell's British citizenship

Marc Piel marcpiel at interdesign.fr
Fri Jun 1 11:54:16 PDT 2007


"something like a billion people
 >> could show up on an afternoon"

Who is kidding who????

With an average of 120 people per aeroplane that 
makes 83 thousand aeroplanes, each with 120 people 
on board, (=3458 aeroplanes per hour, or 57,6 
aeroplanes per minute). Sorry about that, but 
somewhere something is not right in this discussion.

Michael Haag wrote:

> My guess is that it was a very minor problem.  For those who had been 
> born in what had British India (Pakistan, India and Burma) and were 
> resident in the United Kingdom there was nothing they needed to know or 
> do.
> 
> How many British patrials there were resident outside the UK I do not 
> know, nor do I know what efforts were made to alert them to the new 
> law.  I believe that citizens of any country who are living abroad are 
> usually told to keep in touch with their embassy; that the 
> responsibility for being informed lies with the individual.
> 
> I suppose the safest way of framing that law would have been to ensure 
> that it should not apply to British patrials resident abroad within a 
> certain period of time, that time being the valid life of their British 
> passports -- so that as one's passport expired, one was obliged to 
> renew it at an embassy or consulate where one would have been told, in 
> good time, that one needed to register under the new act.  Had that 
> been the case, and had Durrell or anyone in his position renewed his 
> passport within that time, the problem would not have arisen.  For all 
> I know the law was framed in that way, and that Durrell failed to renew 
> his passport when he should have -- one would have to look at his 
> passport, the provisions of the law, etc, to know for sure.
> 
> Had there been any significant number of people affected by this 
> situation I would have thought that remedial action would have been 
> taken by Parliament.  Nothing I have read in the Foreign Office and 
> Home Office files indicates that there was a wider problem.  I would 
> not be surprised if Durrell was the only one.
> 
> :Michael
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On Friday, June 1, 2007, at 05:21  pm, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> 
> 
>>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.
>>
>>Bruce
>>
>>-----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.
>>>
>>>:Michael
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>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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