HC Deb 26 June 1940 vol 362 c443
30. Captain Alan Graham

asked the Home Secretary what is the justification for the continued presence in this country of approximately 500 children from the Spanish Province of Biscaya; and whether, in view of our own urgent need at the present time for national economy and security as well as for good relations with the Spanish Government, he will take immediate steps to repatriate these children to their own country, where good treatment is assured to them?

Mr. Peake

The committee responsible for the care of these children are anxious to return as many as possible of them to their parents. Only about 450 such children are at present in this country, and of these it is hoped to repatriate some 50 at an early date.

Captain Graham

Is my hon. Friend proceeding with all expedition? Will he define rather more closely "by an early date," because this is urgent?

Mr. Peake

The position is that only about 10 per cent. of the children who came to this country are still here. It is a question of making suitable arrangements, because after the length of time they have been here we cannot entirely divest ourselves of all responsibility for their welfare.

Sir F. Fremantle

Will not the Government of Spain make suitable arrangements? They are their own people.