HC Deb 09 July 1923 vol 166 cc914-5
39. Mr. BECKER

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the fact that it is admitted by immigration officials at Ellis Island that 150 persons, of various races and colours, have been housed in the same sleeping quarters and that they cannot remedy this evil unless they build a larger building, he will make representations to the United States Government with a view to obtaining improved conditions for the increasing number of detained British immigrants?


His Majesty's Ambassador at Washington, who inspected Ellis Island about six months ago at the invitation of the United States Government, communicated to the United States Government the impressions left on him by that inspection. Sir A. Geddes made no secret of his conviction that the only way effectively to relieve the congestion at Ellis Island would be either to build an entirely new station or to supplement that already existing on the island (which cannot for reasons of space be much enlarged) by creating an additional station to which certain classes of immigrants could be diverted. It would be difficult for His Majesty's Government to make official recommendations as frank in character as the suggestions which Sir A. Geddes has thus had an opportunity of making in an unofficial manner. According to Press reports, one at least of his suggestions has recently been acted upon, a board of final appeal against deportation having been set up at Ellis Island itself, thus obviating the necessity for reference to a board in Washington and the delay thereby entailed.


Will the hon. Gentleman lay a copy of the report on the Table?


I think I should have to get the consent of the United States Government before doing so.

Viscount CURZON

Would it not be possible to get the American Government to consent to examination at the port of departure rather than waiting to get to Ellis Island?


I should require notice.


Would it not be possible to refer the matter to the League of Nations?