HC Deb 04 March 1942 vol 378 cc638-9
32. Miss Eleanor Rathbone

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement explaining the refusal of the Palestine authorities to permit the landing of 750 Jewish refugees from Rumania and Bulgaria on the steamship "Struma," who subsequently perished through the sinking of the ship; why the concession to admit the children on the ship was delayed so long that it did not reach Turkey in time; and will he, in order to lessen the likelihood of such tragedies, consider making concessions regarding immigrants to Palestine whose maintenance is guaranteed?

38. Mr. Silverman

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any statement to make as to the circumstances in which 750 Jewish refugees from Rumania were refused admission to Palestine although the immigration quota has 3,000 unallotted vacancies; how long the negotiations continued; how many survived the foundering of the ship "Struma," which was taking them back to their oppressors; and what was their ultimate fate?

Mr. Harold Macmillan

My Noble Friend is not yet in possession of all the facts regarding this tragic incident, and in the circumstances I would ask permission of my hon. Friends to defer any statement.

Miss Rathbone

In view of the fact that similar tragedies might arise again, cannot the Under-Secretary press the Palestinian Government to show a little more mercy in this matter, as this is not the first time that this kind of thing has happened?

Mr. Macmillan

Yes, Sir. As to the facts of this very sad incident, I am unable to give any details, but, as to the general question of policy, I will bear in mind what my hon. Friend has said, and I can assure her that this is in the mind of my Noble Friend at the present time.

Mr. Silverman

Will the hon. Gentleman include in the inquiry the question of how the Palestinian Administration reconciles its refusal to admit these refugees with the ease with which it has admitted into Palestine the friends and relatives of the Mufti, who have acted in opposition to this country?

Mr. Macmillan

There is another Question on the Paper on the subject, which, unfortunately, has not been asked. Had it been asked, I would have been able to give a reply which would have answered the Supplementary Question.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Is it not the fact that the Jews have never cut the pipe line?