HC Deb 18 June 1940 vol 362 cc5-6
5. Mr. Cocks

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether, in view of the proposals from Canada and Australia to offer hospitality to children from this country, he will reconsider the question of the immediate large-scale evacuation of children, mothers and other non-combatants from this country to other parts of the Empire?

The Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (Mr. Shakespeare)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I made to the hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Parker) on 12th June, regarding the setting up of an inter-Departmental Committee to consider the possible evacuation of children. I hope that it will be possible for a fuller statement on this subject to be made to-morrow.

Mr. Cocks

Will the hon. Member bear in mind that the soldiers will fight more happily if they know that their wives and children are safe? This is not a matter of the evacuation of a few thousand people; it should be done on the largest possible scale. It is an urgent matter, not a question of weeks.

Mr. Shakespeare

The views expressed by the hon. Gentleman are entirely my own views, and the views of His Majesty's Government.

Colonel Wedgwood

Does the question of emigration to America come under the scope of the Committee?

Mr. Shakespeare

Yes, Sir.

Miss Rathbone

Will the report cover the question of how parents who wish to send their children at their own expense can pay for the maintenance of the children? That is a question which is holding up many people.

Mr. Shakespeare

I should be glad if the hon. Lady would await the fuller statement which is to be made.

6. Mr. Parker

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether arrangements will be made by the committee considering evacuation of children to the Dominions to transfer orphanages overseas wherever feasible, so as to free their buildings in suitable areas for the accommodation of children whose parents do not wish them to leave the country?

Mr. Shakespeare

Any offers received from overseas for the transfer of orphanages as such will, of course, receive consideration.

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