HC Deb 26 July 1939 vol 350 cc1454-6
50. Mr. Mander

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the extent in numbers during each of the last three years and for the last three months of illegal Arab immigration into Palestine, and what steps are being taken to prevent it?

Mr. M. MacDonald

I have not these figures available, but am asking the High Commissioner for a report. The land frontiers of Palestine are closely patrolled, with a view to preventing unauthorised entry by Arabs or other persons.

Mr. Mander

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that at least the same energy will be shown in preventing illegal Arab immigration into Palestine as in preventing illegal Jewish immigration?

Mr. MacDonald

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Crossley

Does the answer not prove conclusively that the Arabs of Palestine are a separate and distinct people from the Arabs of other countries?

52. Miss Rathbone

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in the matter of immigration into Palestine, he will consider making a concession on behalf of the elderly dependants of already established Jewish immigrants from the countries of persecution, and will allow such dependants to be brought in as an addition both to the proposed ordinary quota and to the proposed special category for refugees, in view of the fact that these elderly dependants can neither add to the future Jewish population nor compete in the economic field, and will be in no way a burden on the financial resources of the State nor a military menace to the Arab population?

64. Mr. Edmund Harvey

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will consider a modification of the impending suspension of immigration of Jews into Palestine in the case of aged parents or near relatives of persons already settled there, who will undertake full responsibility for them?

Mr. MacDonald

I cannot contemplate any modification of the policy regarding immigration set forth in the White Paper and in my recent statement concerning the next six-monthly period.

Miss Rathbone

Is the right hon. Member aware that, at present Jewish colonists are often faced with the cruel choice of whether to bring in aged parents, faced with destitution and misery, or young adults, who would be of some economic value to the colony; and would not my suggestion do something to conciliate world opinion?

Mr. MacDonald

All those considerations, and many others, were taken carefully into account before we decided on this policy.

Mr. T. Williams

As the suggestion in the question does not in any way vitiate the general immigration policy, could not the right hon. Gentleman reconsider his policy for the first year in regard to aged people, who could not be a burden on the Palestinian Arabs?

Mr. Pickthorn

Does not the hon. Lady's supplementary question show that such a concession would affect the general immigration policy?

Mr. MacDonald


Mr. Dalton

On a point of Order. Would it not be proper for the Minister now to answer the question of my hon. Friend, which he would have answered but for the supplementary of the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn)?

Mr. Speaker

I have no objection to his doing so.

Mr. MacDonald

The suggestion which was made would involve a modification of the policy which had been decided on, and I said in my original answer that I could not contemplate any such modification.

Lieut.-Commander Agnew

Would the point made by the hon. Lady not be best met if the organisation concerned would stop illegal immigration?

Mr. T. Williams

Is it in order for the hon. and gallant Member to suggest that the official organisation, which is part and parcel of the Mandate system, is in any way responsible for illegal immigration?

Mr. Speaker

I am sorry, but I did not understand what the hon. and gallant Member said.

54. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in connection with the agreement made, with the approval of the Home Office, by the Agricultural Subcommittee of the Co-ordinating Committee on Jewish Refugees, on which is represented the National Fanners' Union, the Transport and General Workers' Union, and the Agricultural Workers' Union, for the training in this country of 1,000 German refugees at agricultural institutes and on English farms with individual owners, for emigration to Pales-time within one year, 200 of such emigrants to leave in October, 200 in November, and the remainder in December, which arrangements were made with his knowledge and approval, his order to stop all immigration into Palestine for the period from 1st October will apply to these men?

Mr. MacDonald

Yes, Sir. I would add that the plan to which the hon. Member refers was not made with my knowledge or approval. I was informed about it by those responsible after it had been made, and I gave no undertaking that immigration certificates for Palestine would be available for the persons concerned.

Mr. Creech Jones

In view of the effect of this policy so far as English agricultural labourers are concerned, and of the fact that it will represent a breach of faith all round if this policy is pursued, will the right hon. Gentleman treat this as a special case?

Mr. MacDonald

If I treat one case as a special case, I shall have to treat a great many as special cases. This is the result not of our policy, but of enormous illegal immigration into Palestine.