HC Deb 14 October 1946 vol 427 cc586-7
3. Mr. Warbey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that Polish soldiers who enrol in the Resettlement Corps do not forfeit their Polish nationality.

Mr. Mayhew

Every attempt has been made to explain to the Polish Provisional Government the reasons for which an organisation on the lines of the Polish Resettlement Corps is necessary in order to provide for the settlement in civil life in this country or overseas of Poles who hesitate to return to Poland in existing circumstances. I regret to inform the House that on 12th September, while these diplomatic exchanges were continuing, the Polish Minister of Defence announced publicly that Poles joining the Resettlement Corps might lose their nationality under the law of 20th January, 1920. A number of Poles have since been deprived of their nationality. His Majesty's Government are still in communication with the Polish Provisional Government on this subject.

Mr. Warbey

Can my hon. Friend say whether there is any good reason why we should not take the sensible step of removing these men from the control of the War Office and placing them under the control of the Minister of Labour?

Mr. Mayhew

The Corps, as my hon. Friend knows, is not a military organisation, but anyone who has had to deal with these problems knows that, for administrative reasons, there is a great deal to be said for the present arrangement.

Mr. H. Hynd

If it is not a military organisation, why are they being kept in military uniform?

Mr. Mayhew

I cannot say more than that anyone with experience of dealing with these vast numbers of men will know that, unless we deal with them on lines like this, we get into a terrible mess.

Mrs. Leah Manning

If they are not under military control, would it not do away with the difficulty with which they meet in their own country of losing their nationality, which is quite an important thing, on joining the Forces of a foreign land?

Mr. Mayhew

As I explained in my reply, diplomatic negotiations are in progress and perhaps I had better not say anything until these have been completed.

Sir Ian Fraser

Is it not supremely important that a way should be kept open for these men to return to Poland one day even if they cannot do so at present?

Mr. Mayhew

Certainly, Sir.

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