HC Deb 16 April 1947 vol 436 cc166-7
16. Mr. Pritt

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps he is taking to ensure that Polish recalcitrants sent to Germany shall have an opportunity to earn an honest living and that they do not resort to crime or join any Fascist or semi-Fascist organisations there; what will be done to authorise their passage to other zones or to prevent unauthorised passage; and whether he has the assent of the authorities in the other zones to any arrangements he is making.

Mr. J. Hynd

On arrival in the British zone of Germany, these Poles will be demobilised and required to register at German labour offices, which may direct them to employment. They will then be subject to the same regulations regarding employment and travel, and liable to the same penalties for criminal or subversive activities, as the ordinary German population. Demobilisation of these Poles is taking place in the British zone only, and the authorities in the other zones haw not been consulted.

Mr. Pritt

Does not the Minister recognise that there are special dangers in connection with people who will not live in Poland, in putting them in a country where they cannot even speak the language, with no particular ties, where they are very likely to get into bad company or to get into neighbouring zones? Will he take special precautions?

Mr. Hynd

Yes, we are acutely aware of the difficulties arising from these situations and from these foreign elements in the German population. Therefore, they come under the restrictions to which I have referred, and which I can assure my hon. and learned Friend are very rigid.

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us what category of Poles is constituted by the term "recalcitrants"?

Mr. Hynd

I am not responsible for the term which is used in the Question, but I gathered that it referred to those Poles in this country who are not prepared to join the Polish Resettlement Corps, nor to accept repatriation.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. May I seek your advice and ask whether it is in Order to put down a Question in which an adjective of a hostile and unflattering description such as this is used in connection with people who are merely doing what they have been publicly told they can do, and that is to opt not to return to Poland? It does appear to be a grave misuse of the opportunities of Debate and Question in this House to put down a Question using such a word.

Mr. Speaker

I do not know how the Oxford Dictionary would describe the word "recalcitrant." I do not think it is a particularly offensive word. It passed the Table and, therefore, I think I am satisfied that it is in Order.

Major Tufton Beamish

Further to that point of Order. Is it in Order to insinuate, as is insinuated here, that these men might wish to join a Fascist or a semi-Fascist organisation, in view of the fact that they are members of a country which was an Ally of ours from the first days of the war to the last?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member who puts down the Question is entirely responsible for what is in it.

Professor Savory

Has the hon. Member any ground whatever to suppose that any of our gallant Allies would resort to crime, as suggested in this very disgraceful manner?

Forward to