The Rt. Hon. R. Maudling, M.P.
Secretary of State for Home Department,
|2nd July, 1970|
As you may know, I am conducting an Enquiry into Scientology and in that connexion I am anxious to understand the grounds on which your Department currently refuses admission to the United Kingdom to foreign nationals wishing to come here to study or practise Scientology, in accordance with the policy announced to the House on 25 July 1968.
I am of course familiar with the relevant law, under which you clearly have an unfettered power to admit or refuse admission to any alien in your entire discretion. My concern, however, is not so much with your legal power but with the Departmental policy in accordance with which it is exercised. I should be grateful, therefore, if you could let me have answers to the following questions:-
(a) As I understand it, the broad policy of your Department is to admit aliens freely unless they fall into one or other of a number of specific classes regarded as potential dangers to the community. Three of these are set out in paragraph 4(2) of the Aliens Order 1953, and no doubt there are others. Do Scientologists constitute a separate class of their own, or are they treated as falling within one of the others? If the latter is the case, what class is this?Yours ever,
(b) On what grounds do you consider that the admission of Scientologists to the United Kingdom would be contrary to the public good?
(c) Are these grounds which have been investigated and decided up on within your own Department, or have you relied upon grounds put forward by other Departments? If the latter is the case, which were the Departments concerned and what grounds did they give?
(d) Do the grounds on which Mr. Lafayette Ron Hubbard is currently excluded from the United Kingdom differ in any respects from those founding the exclusion of other Scientologists? If so, what are these?
13th August, 1970
DEAR SIR JOHN,
On 2nd July you wrote to the Home Secretary putting four questions about Home Office policy in regard to foreigners who want to come to the United Kingdom to study or practise at scientology establishments.
On point (a), generally speaking foreigners are not refused admission to the United Kingdom solely on the ground that they are scientologists, and so scientologists do not form a class in the sense of your letter. But, as was made clear in the House of Commons statement of 25th July 1968, it was then decided that scientology establishments would no longer be regarded as educational establishments for the purpose of Home Office foreign student policy. The immigration rules (Aliens: Instructions to Immigration Officers Cmnd. 4296) state in paragraph 17 that "an alien seeking admission as a student will be expected to produce evidence of acceptance for a course of full-time study at a bona-fide educational establishment . . . " It follows that the Home Secretary can direct the exclusion of foreigners whose purpose is to study or practice at scientology establishments, since these are not accepted as educational establishments under the immigration rules. The judgments given in the High Court on 22nd October 1968 and in the Court of Appeal on 19th December 1968, confirm the Home Secretary's power to take this action.
On point (b), the Home Office policy stems from the statement of 25th July 1968 that scientology is harmful. If foreign nationals want to come here to study or work at a scientology establishment we consider that this would be contrary to the public good.
On point (c), the then Home Secretary fully concurred in the Government statement of 25th July 1968, as is evident from its terms. I understand that the Home Office had received a good deal of information from such sources as documents obtained from scientologists by immigration officers, and also took into account views of other Departments including the Department of Health and Social Security, the Department of Education and Science, the Department of Employment and Productivity and the Scottish Home and Health Department.
The answer to your point (d), is yes. Mr. Lafayette Ron Hubbard is the only scientologist who is at present precluded from entering the United Kingdom whatever the purpose of his visit. He has been excluded because, as the founder and leader of the scientology organisation, his presence here would be bound to promote scientology, which the statement of 25th July, 1968 declared to be harmful and contrary to the public interest.
Sir John Foster, K.B.E., Q.C., M.P.
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