HC Deb 20 December 1945 vol 417 cc1539-40
69. Flight-Lieutenant Haire

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he is now in a position to make a further statement with regard to the immigration into this country of distressed persons in Europe; and if he will make it clear how application should be made for permits to enter.

Mr. Ede

I must wait until I hear that the proposals agreed upon with the various Departments concerned in this country, are capable of implementation in Germany and in Austria. Any further announcement will of course include particulars of the authority to whom applications should be made for visas for the journey to this country.

Flight-Lieutenant Haire

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a great deal of uncertainty exists, partly due to this lack of information from his Department, because people who make application in this country are told that their relatives should apply to Consulates of the Foreign Office, and when they apply there, they are told that they should apply to the Home Office in this country; when will a statement be made?

Mr. Ede

This matter is very difficult owing to the still disturbed state of parts of the Continent. I am doing all I can to arrange that what has been decided in this country shall be implemented abroad.

Lieutenant Skeffington-Lodge

Is my right hon. Friend aware that extremely unsympathetic treatment is being meted out to applicants in Rome?

76. Mr. McAdam

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will consider reviewing the conditions under which displaced persons in Europe can enter this country, so as to include persons now living in the British zone, who have lost all their relations in Europe but who have relatives in this country who are prepared to give them a home without causing expanse to His Majesty's Government.

Mr. Ede

As I said when I announced this scheme on the 13th November, this is a first step and, if it is possible to extend the scheme, it will be extended. It is, however, too soon to form any estimate of the numbers involved and of the consequent strain on the limited resources available in this country if any addition were made to the categories which I have already announced.

Mr. McAdam

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman how he would justify difference of treatment between, say, a girl of 16 years of age who has lost her parents and who has been brought to this country, and whose only living relative is a brother in this country; and a woman over 60 years of age who has lost her family —her husband, three sisters and a daughter—in a German concentration camp, and who has two living relatives in this country, who are naturalised British subjects?

Mr. Ede

I cannot attempt to justify any of these things on any grounds of logic. What I am trying to do is to make the maximum amount of relief available for those people who are most likely to be able to benefit from it. In reaching a decision, in view of the tremendous numbers involved, I have to make distinctions which appear to be very anomalous.