42. Vice-Admiral Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that the National Provisional Government of Poland is withdrawing Polish citizenship from officers and men who served under British command, on the grounds that by entering the Polish Resettlement Corps they are accepting military service with a foreign power; and if he will make a statement as to how far this corps is a military organisation, and what obligations are entered into by the officers and men joining it.
§ Mr. Bevin
The Polish Provisional Government have deprived General Anders and certain other senior Polish officers of Polish nationality, for substantially the reason given by the hon. and gallant Member. The Polish Resettlement Corps is under the control of the British Service Departments and is administered under British military law. But while the Resettlement Corps comes under British military law, I should make it clear that its whole object is essentially non military, its sole purpose being the dispersal of its members into civil life. The training and employment provided in the Corps will be directed as far as possible to this end, and the Corps will be an unarmed body.
884 As regards the last part of the Question, enlistment in the Corps is for a period of two years, because, when men are enlisted into a British formation, a definite period of enlistment has to be stated. We hope, however, that men will pass out of the Corps as soon as possible. As soon as a suitable job has been found for any member of the Corps not wishing to emigrate overseas or to return to Poland, he will take it up as a civilian. He will then receive civilian clothing, his Resettlement Corps pay will cease, and he will be entitled to the appropriate civilian pay from the employer.
In view of the fact that the Polish Provisional Government are making this matter an excuse for the victimisation of officers and men in the Polish Army who were fighting on our side, will the Secretary of State communicate with the Polish Government and make the views of His Majesty's Government perfectly clear to them, in order that they may remove this injustice to Polish officers and men?
§ Major Bramall
Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us what reason prevents these men of the Resettlement Corps being placed under civilian control, thereby removing any reason or excuse for the Polish Government to take this action?
§ Mr. Bevin
It is extremely difficult to take men who do not know our language and throw them on the labour market to fend for themselves. I, personally, when I had to study this case in the first instance, was totally against introducing any method of conscript law to apply to civilians in industry. Therefore, this was intended as a temporary means of transition, in order that it could be wound up, and I did not introduce any new principle into British civil law.
§ Professor Savory
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether special representations could not be made to the Polish Government against the deprivation of Polish citizenship of General Anders, in view of his distinguished services to this country and to the Allied cause.