HC Deb 15 May 1934 vol 289 cc1614-5
20. Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether, in view of the fact that over three months have now passed since a resolution was tabled by a majority of Members of this House urging the Government to consult with the Dominions and Colonies with a view to the promotion of organised Empire settlement, he can now state what steps, if any, have been taken in this direction?


A Motion urging the Government to get into touch with the Governments of the Dominions with a view to putting forward a scheme for the voluntary redistribution of the white peoples of the Empire was accepted on 31st January last, on the understanding that the Government should first complete the preliminary work on which they were then engaged. That work is now nearing completion, and I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that the Government will not lose sight of the desirability of conferring with the Governments of the Dominions as soon as they are in a position to do so.


Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate the fact that any survey of considerable territories must take a great deal of time; would it not be possible to consult the Dominions even pending any reports as to the feasibility of such surveys for the future; and can he give the House an assurance that the same principle which governs the Palestine Loan will apply to our own people in connection with any question of Empire settlement?


I do not desire to enter into any discussion about the Palestine Loan, but I desire to say that so far as migration is concerned I know of nothing that would be more valuable to this country and to the. Dominions themselves and I am heartily in favour of it. I am equally opposed to trying to force people to any Dominion until that Dominion is in a position not only to receive them but to welcome them. When I get the report I intend to confer straight away with all the Dominions to see if we can give practical effect to the recommendations.

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

As the success of migration schemes in the Dominions depends upon the people having a market for their products in this country, will not the right hon. Gentleman consider that any action taken in restricting the imports of Dominion products into this country will operate against such scheme?


I am sure that no new country would welcome restrictions of any sort or kind, but equally I am certain that no Dominion resents British agriculture being considered—

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

That is not the point which I raised.

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