HC Deb 07 December 1938 vol 342 cc1143-5
5. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Prime Minister whether he will consult with the President of the United States of America with the object of discussing the possibility of a joint approach to Germany on the question of the treatment of the Jews and the serious problem of refugees with which their respective countries are confronted?

Mr. Butler

His Majesty's Government are in close and constant contact with the United States Government on this question through the Intergovernmental Committee. An informal meeting of the Chairman and Vice-Chairmen of the Committee took place on 2nd December, when all aspects of the question were reviewd.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that a large body of people in Germany are horrified at the Nazi treatment of the Jews and would welcome intervention of the character suggested on behalf of the Jews in Germany?

Mr. Butler

We are in consultation with the United States Government on the matter.

7. Mr. Riley

asked the Prime Minister whether he can make any statement with regard to the work of the Inter-governmental Committee for Refugees?

Mr. Butler

As the reply is somewhat long, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Riley

Has the hon. Gentleman any information that the German Government are prepared now to bring their propaganda to an end?

Mr. Butler

It is a very important matter, which is naturally under consideration.

Following is the answer:

The executive authority of the London Inter-Governmental Committee is the director, Mr. George Rublee, who is assisted by a small staff. The director's task is first, to undertake negotiations to improve the present conditions of exodus of refugees and to establish a system of orderly emigration properly organised; and second, to approach the Governments of the countries represented on the committee, who have expressed themselves as able and willing to admit refugees, with a view to developing opportunities for permanent settlement. The task as a whole is complicated by political, economic and financial questions and the director has found it difficult to make much progress with the first part; but he has been able to do much useful work in connection with the second part of his duties.

A meeting of the chairman, vice-chairman and director of the committee was held in London on 2nd December. The director was able to report that the prospects for the refuge and settlement of involuntary emigrants from Germany were steadily improving, but that the establishment of organised emigration continued to depend to a large extent on the attitude of the country of origin and the conditions under which the refugees leave their homes. All aspects of the committee's work were reviewed, and it was decided that a meeting of the full committee should be held in the near future, and in any event not later than early in the New Year.

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