HC Deb 17 February 1937 vol 320 cc1169-70
29. Mr. Maxton

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that concentration camps are being built in Cuba to hold 40,000 Jamaican labourers awaiting deportation under new labour laws which prohibit them from working any longer in the sugar plantations in Cuba; what is the attitude of His Majesty's Government towards the proposed repatriation of these labourers; and, if it takes place, what preparations will be made in Jamaica to give these labourers shelter and subsistence and to provide employment for them?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

My attention has been drawn to a recent statement in the Press regarding the construction of these camps, but there is at present no official confirmation of the report. While His Majesty's Government have been seriously concerned over the attitude of the Cuban Government towards immigrant labour from British Colonies in the Caribbean area there is no confirmation of the report that repatriations of British West Indian labour on a large scale are contemplated. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs is making inquiries on the subject from His Majesty's Minister at Havana.

Mr. Maxton

Should questions upon this case be directed to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Cuba is a foreign country and we have a Minister there, and anything concerning actions of the Cuban Government is obviously a matter for the Foreign Office.

Mr. Macquisten

Would the right hon. Gentleman not point out to the Cuban Government that they are not giving these black men a square deal?