HC Deb 25 June 1940 vol 362 cc277-9
5. Colonel Wedgwood

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether the children of German Jews in this country are included in the benefits of the Dominions evacuation scheme?

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

No, Sir. The scheme applies only to the children of Allied refugees.

Colonel Wedgwood

Why does it not apply to those who are in greater need than we are?

Mr. Shakespeare

My immediate task is to administer this scheme in harmony with the wishes of the Dominion Governments.

Colonel Wedgwood

Are we to understand from that reply that the Dominions make this distinction, and not the hon. Gentleman?

Mr. Shakespeare

No, Sir, that is not so; but in the discussions it was generally agreed that the first group should come from the children of Allied refugees.

47. Miss Rathbone

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that many parents who are anxious to send their children to a British Dominion or to the United States of America at their own expense, are prevented from doing so by the impossibility of sending funds abroad to cover the cost; and, in order to encourage such evacuation, will he consider a scheme whereby the Government of the receiving country could be asked to advance on loan the cost of the children's maintenance, the parents simultaneously paying the cost into a trust fund in this country out of which the loan could be eventually repaid?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Kingsley Wood)

Hon. Members will be aware of the Government scheme for the evacuation of children overseas, particulars of which were announced by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal on the 19th June. They will also be aware that this scheme is designed to afford equal opportunities to a representative cross-section of the child population between the ages of 5 and 16. In so far, however, as parents wish to make their own arrangements for the evacuation of their children from this country, I must make it plain that the imperative necessity of conserving our dollar resources to meet other essential demands makes it impossible to allow the remittance of funds for the purpose in question to Canada and the United States of America. No such restriction exists, however, in the case of British Dominions other than Canada.

As regards the latter part of the Question, I am glad to have the opportunity to acknowledge with gratitude the generosity of the offers of hospitality already made by the Governments of the several Dominions and by private organisations in the United States of America. I think it will be obvious, however, that any further initiative in the matter must come from the receiving countries themselves.

Miss Rathbone

Would it not leave vacant places under the general scheme if parents who are able to pay the full cost of sending their children to friends were enabled to do so?

Sir K. Wood

I do not think so, because I think others would probably desire to take their places, and in any case the paramount necessity of conserving our dollar resources must prevail.

Commander Sir Archibald Southby

May I ask whether there is any restriction in regard to Newfoundland?

Sir K. Wood

I will inquire upon that point.

Captain Sir Ian Fraser

May I ask whether a war pension payable normally all over the world could be paid in, say, Canada in the case of a severely disabled person wishing to go there at his own expense?

Sir K. Wood

I shall be glad if my hon. and gallant Friend will put that Question on the Paper.

Sir Francis Fremantle

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman make some arrangements by which well-to-do parents in this country could send their children over to the other side if the money, paid in advance, were kept here against eventual payment after the war?

Sir K. Wood

That is the suggestion made in the original Question, but I have pointed out that our dollar resources have to be conserved.

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