HC Deb 04 December 1946 vol 431 cc338-9
68. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many of the 20,000 Poles in this country on 20th November, 1946, who have volunteered to return to Poland, are still awaiting repatriation; and whether he has yet received any communication from the authorities of the Polish Provisional Government with regard to the speeding-up of their acceptance.

Mr. McNeil

The total of those awaiting repatriation is now about 21,000. Since the 20th November one ship has sailed, carrying 2,000 repatriates to Poland, and another will sail shortly. Negotiations are taking place with the Polish authorities to speed up the rate of repatriation to Poland.

Mr. Stokes

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the figure he has now given is 1,000 in excess of what it was in his last reply? Does he not think it contradictory that the Polish Government should ask us to encourage people to go back, and then put every obstacle in the way?

Mr. McNeil

I cannot do the mental arithmetic I am asked to do. We have been disappointed with the response. We are hopeful that the Polish Government will cooperate more vigorously.

Mr. Galacher

Is it not the case that these Poles, when they return, are having every opportunity to assist in the rebuilding of their country and are not deported, as the hon Member and his friends have said?

Mr. McNeil

That is beyond the Question. The Question is about the facilities for their return, and I hope these will be afforded more generously.

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