HC Deb 23 November 1937 vol 329 cc1021-3
34. Mr. Louis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he proposes to lay before the House, either in the form of a statement or White Paper, the result of the negotiations he has carried on since the Coronation with the different Dominions on the issue of migration and settlement?

37. Mr. Ammon

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether, since the Federal election, he has been approached by the Government of Australia with proposals for initiating a comprehensive scheme for immigration; and whether he has any statement to make on the subject?

Marquess of Hartington

The discussions which my right hon. Friend had with Dominion Ministers at the time of the Imperial Conference showed that none of the Dominion Governments was then in a position to co-operate in schemes of assisted migration. Since then there has been some public discussion of the question in Australia in connection with the recent General Election there, and my right hon. Friend was interested to read in the Press the reported statement of the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth that it is the intention of the Commonwealth Government to take up with the Government of the United Kingdom the question of assisted passages for suitable British migrants who are nominated by their friends or relatives in Australia.

Mr. Ammon

Are we to take it that the Government will not commit this country to any further scheme without this House being consulted?

Lieut.-Commander Agnew

Can my Noble Friend say when anything is going to be done?

Marquess of Hartington

That is a matter for the Dominion Governments.

Mr. Ammon

Can I have an answer to my question, that this country will not be committed to anything without the House being consulted?

Marquess of Hartington

There will be no departure from the terms of the Empire Settlement Act, which was approved by this House. Within that Act the Government can proceed.

Mr. T. Smith

Is the Noble Lord aware that one of the obstacles as far as Australia is concerned is that there is unemployment there?

Mr. Lunn

Is it not a fact that more migrants are returning from the Dominions than are going from this country and in that case how can you expect any Minister in the Dominions to speak in favour of migration?

Marquess of Hartington

I think the hon. Member is right.

Mr. Annesley Somerville

Is it not a fact that there is a considerable flow of emigrants to South Africa?