HC Deb 24 November 1938 vol 341 cc1928-32
36. Captain W. T. Shaw

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the widespread interest taken in the question of Jewish refugees, he will arrange for the weekly publication of figures showing the number of adults and children admitted to this country?

Mr. Lloyd

As my right hon. Friend previously explained, there are difficulties in the way of giving figures showing the number of refugees who arrive in a given week, because amongst those who come here as visitors or students there are some who apply later to be allowed to stay as refugees, but my right hon. Friend will consider whether figures can be compiled of those who are identifiable on arrival as refugees.

37. Captain Shaw

asked the Home Secretary the duration of time that Jewish refugee children are to be allowed to remain in this country; and whether he will see that steps are taken to keep trace of the children and arrange for their leaving the country at a fixed age?

Mr. Lloyd

It is proposed that refugee children admitted to this country under the care of the Inter-Aid Committee for Children may be permitted to remain in this country for purely educational or training purposes until they have completed their education or training, on condition that they are not placed in ordinary employment. A record will be kept of each individual child.

Captain Shaw

Will the Government consider issuing a White Paper with regard to aliens coming into this country, giving the exact conditions and guarantees under which they will be admitted?

Mr. Wedgwood Benn

In the interests of the good name of this country, will the hon. Gentleman do his best to discourage questions such as this?

Mr. Macquisten

In the interests of the future of this country, will he see that undesirable people are not admitted?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the Government act in the spirit of the Home Secretary's speech, and consider the interests of the children first?

Captain Shaw

If all these children are to be allowed to come here, will the Government consider the claims of the Chinese?

40. Wing-Commander James

asked the Home Secretary whether, since the plight of part-Jews in Greater Germany is even more tragic than that of whole-Jews, owing to the latter having the support of wealthy and influential organisations, and having regard to the fact that, owing to their lesser degree of distinctiveness, part-Jews are less difficult of absorption into non-Jewish populations, he will give an assurance that the ratio of these two classes will be approximately adhered to in respect of both children and adult refugees admitted into this country for permanent settlement?

Mr. Lloyd

Applications made by or on behalf of refugees are considered on their merits without discrimination as to race or religion, and it would not be possible for my right hon. Friend to promise that, if so many refugees of one description are admitted, an equal number of another description will be admitted, but my right lion. Friend is in entire agreement with the view that as sympathetic consideration should be given to the one class as to the other.

Wing-Commander James

Will an endeavour be made to keep a record, so that we may be able to check how far the Home Secretary implements his good intentions?

Mr. Lloyd

I will consider that point.

41. Mr. Riley

asked the Home Secretary whether His Majesty's Government have under consideration the provision of any financial assistance for the accommodation and training of German or other refugee children who may be brought to this country?

Mr. Lloyd

The question whether financial assistance should be given by Governments was one of the matters considered at the Evian Meeting, and the view taken by the countries represented at that meeting was that the Governments of the countries of refuge and settlement should not assume any obligations for the financing of involuntary emigration.

Mr. Riley

Has the Minister received any representations from the Inter-Aid Committee or other refugee organisations with regard to financial assistance; and does he consider that it will be possible to deal with the urgency of these refugee children?

Mr. Lloyd

I am not aware of any representations of that nature.

Mr. Lipson

Will not my hon. Friend reconsider that decision, in view of the increase in the nature of the problem? Would not the Government be prepared to contribute, to responsible private agencies, at least £1 for £1?

Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte

Will my hon. Friend consider the interests of the British taxpayer?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will any representations that are made be considered?

Mr. Lloyd

My right hon. Friend is always prepared to consider all representations, but in saying that I must not be taken to imply any particular undertaking.

42. Mr. Edmund Harvey

asked the Home Secretary whether, in order to avoid prolonged delays, he is prepared to grant a bloc visa for groups of Jewish refugee children from Austria and Germany in cases in which provision for maintenance is guaranteed?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir. It has been decided to waive the requirement of a visa for refugee children brought to this country for education purposes under the care of the Inter-Aid Committee for Children. I would refer to the reply which I gave yesterday to the right hon and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood).

Mr. Henderson Stewart

What is the upper age limit for a child?

Mr. Lloyd


43. Miss Rathbone

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the special needs of refugees, he will consider reserving for the present new permits to aliens to reside and work exclusively for such refugees, and will also cause the permits already held by aliens to be reviewed and withdrawn when the alien might, without hardship, be required to return to his own country in order to make more room for refugees?

Mr. Lloyd

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on this matter to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, East (Mr. Mander) on 7th July.

46. Mr. Riley

asked the Prime Minister whether His Majesty's Government would be willing, in conjunction with the other members of the Inter-Governmental Committee for Refugees, to contribute financial assistance or support an international loan to assist in the settlement of German or other refugees overseas?

47. Mr. Harvey

asked the Prime Minister whether instructions will be given to the representatives of His Majesty's Government at the forthcoming meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Refugees to support the issue of an international loan to aid the settlement of Jewish refugees; and whether His Majesty's Government are prepared to make a substantial contribution to such a loan under suitable conditions?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Simon)

It is not possible at present to form any reliable estimate of the expenditure which the settlement of Jewish refugees will involve, but hon. Members will appreciate that Government support for an international loan would involve reconsideration by the Inter-Governmental Committee of the recommendations made to the Governments which participated in the Evian Meeting.

Mr. Riley

Has the right hon. Gentleman noticed the statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in a broadcast on Tuesday, that we have to envisage not fewer than 600,000 refugees leaving Germany in a short time, and does he think it possible to deal adequately with a problem of that kind by voluntary effort? Will he consider what representations the Government should make to the Inter-Governmental Committee on the question of financial assistance?

Sir J. Simon

I have not noticed that particular statement, but my right hon. Friend himself is very closely associated—I think he is the principal member—with that Inter-Governmental organisation.

Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

Who will guarantee this loan?

Mr. Harvey

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the extreme urgency of the question, as it has developed since the Evian Conference, and will he see, therefore, that the British Government give a lead to this Conference?

Sir J. Simon

I did not refer to the Evian Conference myself, but I observed that the stipulation had been made, as I stated at the time when the Evian Conference was created, on the proposal of the American Government.

Captain Shaw

Will my right hon. Friend remember that we have a large number of unemployed in this country?