HC Deb 29 January 1947 vol 432 cc929-30
40. Mr. Prescott

asked the Secretary of State for Air why Polish nationals serving with the R.A.F. in the United Kingdom are being informed that they must sign on for another two years or return to Poland.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

His Majesty's Government hope that many Poles now in this country may even yet decide to return to Poland. As the hon. Member is aware, those who do not so decide are invited to join the Polish Resettlement Corps. If they accept, they enlist in the corps for two years. This enlistment is not for military service; its whole purpose is to fit them for productive civilian work. It is hoped that such work will be found for all of them before their full term of enlistment has been served.

Mr. Prescott

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I am credibly informed that Polish men serving in the R.A.F. are told by their officers that unless they sign a form agreeing to serve a further two years in the R.A.F. they will be sent back to Poland; and is he further aware that the men are instructed they must not tell anyone about whether they sign the form or not as it must remain secret?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Of course, that is all wrong from beginning to end. The enlistment is not in the R.A.F., it is not in the Polish Air Force, but is in the Polish Resettlement Corps, which is quite a different business. Perhaps the hon. Member will be good enough to tell me whether they are British or Polish officers who are giving this information.

Professor Savory

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that Poles who have returned to Poland, especially those who five beyond the Curzon Line, have been deported to Siberia; and how can he recommend their return under such circumstances?