HC Deb 08 December 1938 vol 342 cc1345-8
37. Mr. Howard Gritten

asked the Home Secretary whether he has approved the plan of the British Committee for the care of children from Germany, under which 200 Jewish children arrived on 2nd December as the first part of an initial scheme to bring to this country 5,000 children and eventually 50,000 Jewish children; and whether, in view of the size of this influx, he will obtain the consent of this House before agreeing to this scheme?

Mr. Lloyd

I understand that the British Movement for the Care of Children from Germany, in consultation with the Inter-Aid Committee for Children coming from Germany, is shortly submit- ting to my right hon. Friend a plan for the reception, training and emigration of refugee children in accordance with the request made by the deputation which he received on 21st November. Until this plan is before my right hon. Friend it is not possible to form an estimate of the number of children whose entry to this country he is prepared to authorise, but the number will, of course, be limited by the ability of the committee to accept full responsibility.

Mr. Gritten

In view of the great numbers of unfortunate British unemployed, does the hon. Gentleman, his Department or the Government intend to put a limit or a period to the enormous influx of aliens to this country?

Mr. Logan

Will the hon. Gentleman make it clear that, although we have our unemployed, we are able to maintain our children to a certain extent?

Mr. Lawson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a very great deal of public sympathy with these unfortunate children?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir, I am.

Mr. Mander

Will the Government continue a humane and sympathetic policy in this matter?

Mr. Gallacher

Has this Government ever shown any interest in the poor children of the country?

38. Mr. Gritten

asked the Home Secretary upon whom will fall the cost of maintenance and upon whom the cost of education of the thousands of Jewish children that he proposes to allow to enter this country; and to how many of these children does he propose to grant naturalisation?

Mr. Lloyd

The cost of maintenance of the refugee children brought to this country in the care of the Inter-Aid Committee will not fall upon public funds; as regards their education, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which was given on 28th November by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education to a question by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Forfar (Captain Shaw). As it is the intention of the Committee to make arrangements for the emigration of these children after education and training, the question of their naturalisation does not arise.

48. Wing-Commander James

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that Jews seeking to leave greater Germany have the advantage of Jewish organisations, inside and outside that country to facilitate and assist their transit; whether he is aware of part-Jews and non-Jews having any such organisations; and what steps he proposes to take to ensure that, so far as possible, a fair ratio between such of these three categories of persons as wish to obtain them is preserved in admissions to this country in respect of both children and adults?

Mr. Lloyd

The Co-ordinating Committee for Refugees, through its organisations in this country and their corresponding bodies in Germany, is in a position to afford the necessary advice and assistance to all refugees who wish to come to this country, whether they are Jews, part-Jews, or non-Jews. With regard to the second part of the question, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply I gave to him on 24th November.

Miss Rathbone

Is the Under-Secretary aware that the difficulty indicated in this question is due to the fact that Christians have shown themselves less generous towards Christians than Jews have shown themselves towards either Jews or Christians?

49. Wing-Commander James

asked the Home Secretary with what organisations, on behalf of refugees from greater Germany seeking admission to this country, he is in contact; and what machinery he has set up to receive such collaboration?

Mr. Lloyd

In regard to the admission of refugees to this country, my right hon. Friend is working in close collaboration with the organisations who are membersof the Co-ordinating Committee for Regugees, a list of which was circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT on 2nd December. In order to facilitate the examination of cases submitted by these organisations, my Department is maintaining daily personal contact with them.

53. Miss Rathbone

asked the Home Secretary how many visas or permits for entry to and residence in this country have so far been granted to refugees from or still in Czechoslovakia, and how many applications from such refugees or from recognised bodies on their behalf have been refused or remain undealt with?

Mr. Lloyd

About 1,200 refugees from or still in Czechoslovakia have so far been authorised to enter this country; about 100 applications from the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia and from individuals are at present under consideration. I know of no instance in which an application from the British Committee has been refused.

Miss Rathbone

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are estimated to be about 5,000 of these people who would like to leave Czechoslovakia and Sudeten Germany, and who will be in grave danger unless they are let in shortly?

68. Mr. W. H. Green

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether a decision has yet been reached to admit alien refugee children to schools maintained out of public funds?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (Mr. Kenneth Lindsay)

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave on 28th November last to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Forfar (Captain Shaw).