§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Major A. S. L. Young.]
§ 5.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Edmund Harvey (Combined English Universities)
I want to ask the attention of the House to a matter which has been raised once or twice at intervals at Question Time and has been before the consideration of the Colonial Office for a long period. In doing that, I wish to express my regret to my right hon. and gallant Friend who has so many cares on his shoulders that he should have to give so much of his time as he has already done to-day in order to answer my appeal. I would not have ventured to bring this matter before the House if I did not feel that it does concern not only the well-being of a number of very unfortunate individuals, victims of the Nazi persecution, but the good relations of our country and the maintenance of the great traditions of generous sympathy for the oppressed for which this country has stood throughout the centuries.
This group of people about whom I am speaking are those known as the Jewish immigrants, who came to Palestine in 1940 and were confined on arriving there, on the grounds that they had not the necessary legal visas and permits, and they were to have been sent by the Government elsewhere. They were placed, in November, 1940, to the number of about 1,800, on board the French steamship "Patria" which was lying at that time in Haifa harbour. It is quite true that these people had come into Palestine contrary to the regulations of the Government, and we can quite understand the worry and anxiety that was caused to the Palestine authorities by the entrance of immigrants in this way, but I think we have to remember, and I feel sure that the Colonial Secretary will remember, the peculiar conditions under which these people came. They were from Austria, Germany, Czechoslovakia and the satellite countries, 908 and all of them were under the threat of death. Massacres had already taken place under the orders of the Nazi authorities, and where had they to go? Their thoughts turned to the ancient home of the Jewish people. Some of them, at least, had heard that there was a National Home there, and, at a time of such intense danger, it was natural that they should long to be there and that they managed, somehow or other by different routes, to get on to little ships which brought them to Palestine.
There they landed. They were able to bring with them a small amount, in some cases, of personal belongings which they had saved from the Gestapo and these were all on board the ship "Patria." On 25th November, a terrible explosion took place, resulting in the ship heeling over and almost sinking, and, as a result of that terrible disaster, about 250 of these people lost their lives. There were some 1,500 survivors. The Palestine Government had a commission of inquiry into the cause of the accident, and there was an official communiqué, or summary of this commission's report, issued in Palestine, and from that we can learn that the commission found that the loss of the "Patria" was due to sabotageby Jewish sympathisers ashore—with the co-operation of at least one person on board the ship. For reasons of caution it will seem unlikely that the saboteurs took into their confidence any considerable number of persons in the 'Patria'.It was a terrible crime and a terrible disaster. In the loss that had been unhappily wrought in Palestine by terrorists, these unfortunate people were the principal victims, and 250 lost their lives, while a large number of those who survived lost some of those nearest and dearest to them. This terrible punishment in that way fell upon a considerable number of admittedly innocent people. They were all kinds of folk—very old people, and young girls, coming from very different homes, but they all shared this common misfortune. Survivors were removed to the clearance camp at Athlit, and the Palestine Government undertook the salvage of the vessel and the luggage that was left on board it. The Palestine Government Works Department undertook this salvage. Part of the ship was over the water-line, and a considerable amount of luggage was saved and transferred to the Customs sheds in Haifa. It 909 lay there some time and then the luggage was taken to the camp at Athlit.
At one period, during the time that pleas were being made in Palestine on behalf of these refugees for some compensation for their losses, it was suggested in the Palestine court by a junior advocate of the Government that the Jewish Agency were responsible for the transfer. I have here a copy of a letter—the translation of a letter in Hebrew—from the Jewish Agency office, the original of which was afterwards sent to the Palestine Government, saying that they had nothing whatever to do with it, and that the transfer had been made by the Palestine Police. When the goods arrived, there was a good deal of confusion in the camp. There seems to have been inadequate provision for guarding them, and, when they arrived, it was found that large numbers of cases had been broken open, that valises had been ripped open and that a great deal of luggage was missing. Even when luggage had come from a cabin above the water, other luggage that was in the same cabin was not there. Again and again, it was found that many valuables, fountain pens, watches and all sorts of things had been taken away, together with a large number of suits of clothing and other articles. A great number of empty cases, portfolios or bags was returned to the owners. We have to remember that this was all that these people had, and we can imagine what a loss it meant to them.
I have here two depositions sent with a petition that these people made to the Crown applying for an ex-gratia payment, from which it is quite evident how serious their loss was. The first one—I will read only part of it—is from a former banker, Dr. M. Merdinger, a doctor of laws, who was formerly a bank manager in Vienna:Part of my own luggage and my wife's belongings were returned to us in a condition which does not leave me in doubt that it was unlawfully interfered with. I had, inter alia, a large rucksack especially made to order for the purpose of my journey to Palestine. When the rucksack was returned to me, I found that its ropes had been cut. The rucksack itself had also been cut, apparently with a knife or a razor. Two new suits had been taken away. From my wife's handbag that had been closed by a zip, the following articles were lacking:—A gold wrist watch, a silver powder box, a golden brooch with pearls, a golden pencil, a silver lipstick, a portefeuille with £2 (English) and 10 Swiss francs. Only a small silver box caught in the lining was re- 910 turned with the bag. My wife had an umbrella with a costly ivory handle. The umbrella was returned without handle, which had not broken away, but has been screwed from the turn.That shows that it was not a casual robbery that had taken place, but a very systematic robbery. The second affidavit is from Mr. Ignaz Heinitz, in which he says:In the camp at Athlit, I was one of the persons charged with the distribution of the articles salvaged from the 'Patria.' One day, under strong rain, a truck, fully laden with various pieces of luggage, drove into Athlit. I noticed at once that a great number of trunks had been considerably damaged, i.e., had been opened by force. Before I permitted the unloading, I fetched the late Mr. Wolf who was bead of the detainees. Mr. Wolf, in the presence of Mr. Arthur Frankl (now in Kiriath Mobykin Camp) inspected the damaged luggage. Mr. Wolf then sent for the acting British Commandant of the Camp, Inspector Stradwick, and a British Sergeaut, to verify the patent robbing. Afterwards Mr. Wolf sent a report concerning the aforementioned facts to the Port police in Haifa, asking for the strictest supervision of the further salvage work. I specially remember that a new big leather trunk, with three broad straps and fitted with locks, had been cut through. I do not remember who was the owner of this trunk. I also remember that one or two sacks were brought into Athlit containing about 70 ladies' bags, all of which had been robbed and partly opened by force.The courts in Haifa have already convicted in five cases persons for the theft of goods taken from the "Patria" or belonging to passengers on the "Patria." It is evident that there was very real hardship to a very large number of people. They were confined in the camp at Athlit until about the month of August, 1941, and then the Palestine Government decided that they should be allowed to remain in Palestine. I want to give credit to my right hon. and gallant Friend and to the Palestine Government for that wise and humane decision. In the old days, I believe, when a man was condemned to be hanged and the rope broke, he was reprieved, and there the only crime of a large number of these people, those who have survived, had been the crime of coming to the Jewish national home contrary to the particular regulations that were in force at the moment. I think that that was a wise and humane decision on the part of the Government. But they still were in great poverty and need, and to-day many of them are in the utmost need. Some of them have committed suicide since that date, and some 911 of them, I am told, are still wearing ragged clothing given to them by charitable organisations after their rescue. Some of them have found employment and some are in the Armed Forces of the Crown as volunteers, but the majority are elderly people who could be comforted in this time of distress by even a small payment, in some measure to compensate them for their loss, which would show the good will of this country.
When I raised this question first in the House the reply given on behalf of my right hon. and gallant Friend by the Under - Secretary of State for the Dominions, who was then representing him in the House, was to the effect that the Government could not accept responsibility and he pointed out that one of the difficulties was the sabotage of the "Patria" and that that fact made it difficult to suggest compensation. He said about the pilfering:I understand that the pilfering did take place after the vessel sank, but I do not know whether it actually took place during the time in which the Palestine Government were in charge.I asked in a supplementary question:Will my hon. Friend look into that point and make further inquiries as to whether or no pilfering took place during the salvage?"—to which he replied:Yes, Sir.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd September, 1943; Vol. 392, C. 188.]I have had an opportunity since then of getting some of the facts to lay before the House and it is evident that pilfering must have taken place while the Government Were in charge. This vessel was commandeered by the Government. The remaining luggage was transferred by the Palestine Government Works Department to the sheds in Haifa. It remained in the Customs sheds for a considerable period and it was then transferred, under the conditions I have described, by the Palestine police to the camp at Athlit. It is clear that a large part of the damage must have occurred while the Government had taken charge of these things.
I do not want to make an appeal on legal grounds. These poor people took legal advice and attempted to bring an action in the courts. The Palestine Government objected to it and at one period the Palestine Government legal authorities moved that the case should be struck out 912 from the court list but that was overruled by the court, and it then went on. It never came to an effective hearing, and in the meantime they had, far more wisely, made an appeal not on legal grounds, but on broader grounds, an appeal for an ex gratia payment. I went, on behalf of these people, to the Colonial Office and I was received most courteously and kindly by the Noble Duke the Under-Secretary in control of the case. He pointed out some of the difficulties and made it clear that the Government could not consider a request for an ex gratia payment while court proceedings were going on. I informed the representative of the refugees in Palestine of this and I heard from him that shortly afterwards, in view of this, they had decided to withdraw their case from the court and proceed simply by petition, and that was done. A petition to the Crown was duly sent forward and, unfortunately, to my great regret, I learnt that the Secretary of State had not felt it right to recommend the Crown to accede to the petition.
I want now to make a further appeal to him and to the House to reconsider that decision. I can understand some of his difficulties and that the Government of Palestine had been particularly annoyed by these emigrants coming in contrary to regulations. This caused all kinds of difficulties. They naturally could not help feeling angry about it and were rightly indignant, and not only felt indignant but felt the sense of the terrible criminal act which caused the explosion on the "Patria" Yet these people were absolutely innocent of that crime. It is not right that the innocent should suffer on behalf of the guilty. Would it increase Arab and Jewish tension if an act of grace such as is suggested was entered upon now?
The devout Arab, to his honour, recognises mercy and compassion as divine attributes. The Arabs honour those in power who show mercy and compassion, and I believe they will honour the Colonial Secretary and the Government of Palestine—if they show it now.
§ It being Six o'Clock, the Motion for the Adjournment of the House lapsed, without Question put.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Mr. Drewe.]913
§ Mr. Harvey
I feel sure that in showing compassion, as I ask my right hon. and gallant Friend to do, he will be living up to the highest traditions of our people, and he will be winning good will, not only among the people immediately concerned but amongst those in every country who feel indignation for the wrongs that they and their kinsmen have suffered. He will earn gratitude in every way for an act of justice and an act of mercy.
§ 6.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Lipson (Cheltenham)
I would like to support the appeal made so movingly and eloquently by my hon. Friend the Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. E. Harvey). He has tonight lifted a veil and enabled us to see one picture of Jewish misery of recent times. What the total sum of that misery has been during these last few years we shall probably never know. Many of the victims, alas, are dead and cannot speak, but there are those who have survived, and it is for some of those that an appeal is being made this evening.
I am glad that my hon. Friend has made his appeal on high grounds, not on any question of legal liability. He has asked this question: Is there not a moral liability? It is on the basis of that moral liability that the request is made for an ex gratia payment. These people have suffered much, they have been persecuted, driven from their homes, and their only crime has been that they are Jews. It would not be surprising if, when men and women have suffered so much and without cause, they lost their faith in human nature. I want to suggest, with all respect, that here is an opportunity for them to see human nature from another point of view—an act of generosity that looks beyond the letter of the law and has regard to the spirit.
May I put one other consideration before my right hon. and gallant Friend? We know that relations between the mandatory Power in Palestine and the Palestinian Jews have unhappily been strained. I do not want to stress the point to-night, to assess the blame, but I believe that here is an opportunity to show the British Government from another and, I believe, a truer point of view, as the Government of a people capable of generosity that goes beyond the letter of the law. It is not much that is being asked, and I do not 914 want to say anything to suggest that this should be done by way of a bribe to win goodwill or favour, but I think it is true that magnanimity in politics is not seldom the highest policy. I venture to say that if my right hon. and gallant Friend could see his way to grant this appeal it would reap a rich reward; but whether he does so or not, I ask him to do it, and let it shine as a good deed in a naughty world.
§ 6.5 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Colonel Oliver Stanley)
The hon. Member has raised this question, I know, with great sincerity and with deep feeling. Indeed, all of us are sorry for people who in any circumstances lose their property. Unfortunately, to-day we have reason to sympathise with many millions of people under the same conditions. No doubt the cause which has been so eloquently pleaded by the two hon. Members is a most desirable cause for the contributions of the charitable. Indeed, if the present conditions of these people are anything like those described by the hon. Member, it is a terrible indictment of their own community in Palestine. But, knowing as I do the generosity of those people there, I cannot help feeling that perhaps he has slightly overpainted their present situation. But that is not what I, as a Minister, have to consider. It is not whether the cause is of such an appealing nature as to be a recipient of my private charity, it is whether it is of such a nature that I have to impose upon other people an obligation to make it good. In this case, owing to the situation of Palestine, a grant-aided territory, it means the imposition of this sum upon the taxpayers of this country, many of whom have suffered losses of property just as grievous as this, and equally without any compensation, and for whom speeches just as moving could have been made in this House. Before any Minister could impose upon those people such a burden he would have to make it very plain that there was indeed an obligation upon us, whether legal or, I admit, moral, to make good the loss.
Let us examine the circumstances under which this loss was incurred. In the first place, these 2,000 unfortunate people were part, I do not know whether unwittingly or not, of an organised attempt to defeat the law of Palestine, and to defeat the wish of this House, with which, of 915 course, some hon. Members disagreed, but which was expressed in the approval of the White Paper policy in 1939. The hon. Gentleman talks about their coming where in a number of small ships, as if they were just a few people here and there, who suddenly said: "Let us go to Palestine," without knowing what the regulations were which precluded their entry, and what formalities had to be gone through beforehand. The 2,000 people arrived there in three ships—evidence, I think, of some organisation—and I cannot think that there was a single soul among them who did not know that before they could legally enter Palestine certain formalities had to be gone through, and that those formalities had not been gone through.
§ Mr. Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
Does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman realise that there was something else that they knew, and that we knew, and that was that if they recognised the White Paper passed by this House, and had remained where they were, they would now have died in Hitler's concentration camps?
§ Colonel Stanley
That does not alter what I said. There was no invitation to them to go there—in fact, they knew they were going there to do an illegal act.
§ Colonel Stanley
The hon. Gentleman was not interested enough to be here to hear the speech of the hon. Member for the English Universities (Mr. Harvey).
§ Mr. Silverman
Why does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman say that? He knows that I am interested.
§ Colonel Stanley
The second thing was the cause of this accident. These people were put on the ship, on which they were going to be taken to safety. There was no question of their being returned, or of their running the risk of Nazi oppression. While on the ship the accident occurred, caused, as the Commission which inquired into the matter decided, by the sabotage of members of their own community. There is no suggestion that the Palestine Government were in any way responsible for the loss of the ship. Those were the circumstances which led to the 916 conditions under which the baggage of these unfortunate people was lost or, in some cases, pilfered.
It was clear that under those circumstances the main point to which any Minister had to address himself was whether, after the accident had occurred, there was any evidence of negligence on the part of the Palestine Government which, had due diligence been exercised, would have prevented this loss. Was there anything more which could have been done either to salvage the goods or to protect them when salvaged until they could be handed over to their owners? I went into that very carefully, because I felt that if it could be shown that there was any negligence pf that kind, then a strong case could be made out for some ex gratia payment. But I have seen no evidence, and no evidence has been produced this afternoon, that there was any such negligence. Of course, the accident was completely unexpected—
§ Mr. Harvey
There was the evidence of the witness from the camp who pointed out the way in which the luggage arrived, under confused conditions, and the fact that he communicated those conditions to the camp commandant at that time. Is not that evidence?
§ Colonel Stanley
I submit that there is no evidence at all of any negligence on the part of the Palestine Government. There was an explosion on this ship in the harbour, and, immediately, everybody available, the police, the harbour authorities and boatmen, went out in order, first of all, to save the lives of as many people as they could, and then to get out of the ship as much property as they could. Under those unforeseen circumstances there could be no organised salvage work. All that could possibly be done was to get everybody available to take what they could out of the ship, put it down on the quay, and then try and get out more. That was the commonsense and only thing to do. As soon as it was possible to organise any more formal salvage and proper protection for the luggage that was done; but no suggestion has been made, so far as I know, that any of this loss was known to occur after the time when the Government had been able to make improvised arrangements for the salvage and safeguarding of this luggage.
§ Major John Morrison (Salisbury)
I happened to be in Haifa at that time, and I would like to corroborate everything which my right hon. and gallant Friend has just said.
§ Colonel Stanley
I cannot admit, on behalf of the Palestine Government—because I do not believe it was a fact—that there was any lack of diligence on their part, or anything more they could have done to prevent this unfortunate loss. It is under those circumstances, both of the accident which led up to this deplorable catastrophe, and the action which the Palestine Government took afterwards, in a situation which was none of their fault, to reduce loss to the minimum, that I came to the conclusion—after most careful consideration, not for the first time to-day, but on petitions which have been put forward several times during the past few years—which I announced to the House, namely, that I felt unable to alter it without any new facts being brought to my notice.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
I should like to apologise to my hon. Friend and to the Minister for my inability to be here at the beginning of the Debate. I think the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's speech will be read with bitterness and dismay in a great many quarters which are not parties to the dispute at all. It is not merely his persistence in a refusal to make any payment at all, though that seems to me to be bad enough, but I really find it very difficult to say anything with the restraint which the Rules of the House demand about the attitude, the frame of mind, the kind of language he uses about a tragic event of this kind. He talks about the White Paper, about the illegality, about the sabotage precisely as if these people had had an opportunity to choose, precisely as though they had an opportunity of deciding whether they would break some law or other, precisely as though nothing whatever had happened in the world between March, 1938, and 1940. He knows that a great deal had happened. Not merely had the war broken out but Hitler had let it be known that he was pursuing a war of extermination against all these people, a declaration which was not empty words. It might have turned out between 1940 and 1945 that these people's fears were exaggerated. Then 918 the right hon. and gallant Gentleman might have been entitled to talk as he did. But we know that their fears were not exaggerated. They were well founded. More than two out of three of the Jews living in the place from which these unfortunate people came lived in genuine and well-founded fear of their lives. Everyone knows that, if they had not gone, they would by now be murdered.
What is the use of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman talking about something that happened in these circumstances merely in reference to a White Paper passed in 1938, merely in reference to immigration laws and restrictions in Palestine? We have laws and restrictions in this country but does anyone believe that, if these people had come in a crazy, sinking ship to our shores, we should not have allowed them to land? The Palestine Government took an attitude in regard to these people which would not have been taken by any other civilised Government in the world. I do not believe that, if they had come to Liverpool, London, Southampton, Bristol or Glasgow, anyone would have had the heart to say to them: "You shall not land. We have immigration laws. This is a conspiracy against our immigration system. Go back where you belong."
§ Colonel Stanley
The hon. Member knows that that is not what the Palestine Government said. There was no suggestion of their going back to where they came from. They were going off to places of safety in the British Empire.
§ Mr. Silverman
I do not know why the right hon. and gallant Gentleman says that. Does he really think these people really sank the ship and were prepared to run the risk of suicide merely in order to avoid moving from one place to another? They were in fear and desperate—
§ Colonel Stanley
The hon. Gentleman is seriously saying that when these people were put on the ship they thought they were going to be sent back to the place from which they had come and that they were not sure they were going to other places of safety inside the British Empire. He has made this serious statement and he should substantiate it.
§ Mr. Silverman
I am seriously saying what I have said, and what I repeat, that no other country in the world, certainly 919 no other civilised country, and certainly not this country, would have put these people back on the ship.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Charles Williams)
If the hon. Gentleman makes a statement of that kind he should confirm it. I must also remind him that Members cannot make more than one speech, And he is putting the Minister in a difficult position when he is not allowed to reply.
§ Mr. Silverman
I do not understand the Ruling. If I am not within the Rules of Order, I will sit down. As to putting the Minister in a difficult position, I have not done that; he has put himself in a difficult position.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
If the hon. Member makes statements of that sort he should substantiate them, for it puts the Minister in an extremely difficult position if he cannot reply.
§ Mr. Silverman
Perhaps any comment on that point would be better reserved both by the Minister and, may I say with all respect, by you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, until I have completed what I was about to say. I made two statements. One was that no other country in the world would have, put these people back on the ship. I repeat that statement, and it is not denied that these people were put back upon the ship. I say that that was an uncivilised act and an act that would not have been done by any other country in the world. The other statement I made was that these people were in fear that they would have to go back to where they came from—
§ Mr. Silverman
I did not say it was anybody's intention in Palestine to send them back to Germany or Austria. I have never said that—
§ Colonel Stanley rose—920
§ Mr. Silverman
If there is anything I have said which goes beyond the facts, I shall be happy to withdraw it.
§ Mr. Silverman
I do not think I ought to be asked to give way again. I say that these people went back on the ship in fear and trembling. Whatever they had been told, and whatever the intentions of the authorities, the fact that the ship was sunk by the act of some among them, the fact that they took the risk of being drowned rather than leave, is surely evidence from which any intelligent and fair-minded man would draw the inference that these people were in fear, trembling and terror. It was the act of people who were desperate and that desperation was induced by the refusal of the Palestine Government to allow them to land in circumstances in which they would have been allowed to land by any other country in the world. What I missed from the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's speech was any appreciation of those circumstances. He contented himself with the cold, legal formalism of a White Paper passed two years before in quite different circumstances and with the duty of the immigration authorities in Palestine. Nobody complained of their doing their duty, but duties of that kind have to be done with humanity and according to civilised practice. No harm would have been done had these people been allowed to land, as ultimately what was left of them were allowed to do.
I should have thought that, in the light of everything that has happened since, in the light of all we now know, knowing that policies do change according to changed circumstances, knowing that difficulties that arise owing to a conflict of perfectly sincerely held views may be smoothed away, when there is a handful of individuals like this, whose property has been stolen in circumstances like those, I should have thought that a Government like this, and a Minister like this one, with his well-known humanity and generosity of spirit, might have found it in their hearts to say: "There is not much involved here, and that contribution we will make as some recognition of the tragedy which overtook these few hundreds of innocent victims of the barbarism that we are all fighting together." I do not think any harm would have been done 921 by that, and there would have been no loss of prestige or of legality of any kind.
It does not really redound to anybody's credit that we should have a Debate of this kind, with recriminations, with arguments, and stone-wall resistance from the Government to a claim based in the end on mere humanity, a claim that would not really cost the taxpayers of this country very much. I urge the right hon. and gallant Gentleman to look at this matter again; to leave out the legal aspects of it, because they do not really matter, to leave out the fact that there has been, as there undoubtedly was, a defiance of the decision reached two years before by this House; to look at it as a human problem and as the claim of a few hundreds of human flotsam and jetsam, the result of the barbarity of our times. If he can do something to relieve these people, without any great loss or any sacrifice of principle, would it not be better to do it?
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ Major John Morrison (Salisbury)
I sincerely appreciate the motives of the hon. Gentleman who brought this question up originally this evening, but I would like to support my right hon. and gallant Friend. I was actually in Haifa on the day when this ship arrived, as an ordinary regimental soldier, and so far as I remember there was never any question of these unfortunate people being sent back to the Nazis. I remember that unfortunate day and I can see the ship now, as she lay in the harbour, overturned. As my right hon. and gallant Friend has said, a number of boats went out to rescue the people, as far as was possible. It is remarkable to me that any of the gear and kit of those unfortunate people was rescued at all. There was not much of the ship showing above the water line, and I think it was remarkable that any of 922 the stuff could be saved at all. I think we have escaped the actual point a little bit. The gear of those people, which they unfortunately lost, was their personal belongings, and it was lost when they were on the ship and through no fault of the British Government.
§ Major Morrison
I am telling the House what I feel about it. If other people in this war are to have claims on the Government for everything that they have lost, in many ways and in many countries, there will be a liability which it would be quite unfair to impose on the Government. As far as I remember, that unfortunate day in Haifa entailed the loss of considerable life, as we have heard. Those men and women, when they were taken off the ship, went to the internment camp at Athlit about ten miles down the coast, where a number of other people were locked up. It was there that they spent their time in comparative comfort. I went round to look at that camp. Then they were ultimately released, as we have heard, on the decision of the Palestine Government. When we consider the whole position, I think other hon. Members will agree with me that it is not fair or right that we should expect the Government, or the Government of Palestine; to pay for the loss, which was no fault of the Government of this country or of the Government of Palestine.
§ It being half past Six o'Clock, Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.