HC Deb 21 June 1937 vol 325 cc813-4
5. Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will consider advocating at Geneva the desirability of retaining the Nansen Office or some modified form of that office to look after the interests of political refugees.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

While I see no prospect of a reversal of the Assembly's decision that the Nansen Office shall be liquidated at the end of 1938, my hon. and gallant Friend will be aware that the President of the Governing Body of the Office has been instructed to prepare for the 1938 Assembly recommendations for the allocation of the tasks undertaken by the Office up to the date of its liquidation, in the light of the situation existing at that time.

Sir A. Knox

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise the plight of these people in being forced to leave their own country and there being no one to give them passports, and also that in regard to the idea of liquidating the work of the office there is only one country that insists on it?

Mr. Eden

I appreciate what the hon. and gallant Member has said, and that is why we are at present sympathetically examining the future work of this office.

Sir Arnold Wilson

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to ensure that the Assyrian refugees are not forgotten on this occasion?

Mr. Noel-Baker

In view of the great change that has taken place in the situation does it not show that the matter cannot be left where it is, and will the right hon. Gentleman not suggest that this office should be re-commenced?

Mr. Eden

I have considerable sympathy with what the hon. Member has said. The work in some form or other, or some part of it, must certainly go on. It is a question how it can be arranged.