HC Deb 17 March 1947 vol 435 cc7-9
5. Brigadier Low

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is now able to announce His Majesty's Government's proposals for the compensation and proportionate pension to be paid to Indian and British members of his Department's Services in India when those Services are brought to an end.

Mr. A. Henderson

I am not yet able to add to my previous answers to Questions on this subject, but I hope that an announcement on the subject will be able to be made shortly.

Mr. W. J. Brown

May I ask whether the terms agreed to at the time of the setting up of the Irish Free State might give the Minister some guidance as to what ought to happen here?

Mr. Henderson

I can assure my hon. Friend that everything will be taken into consideration.

Mr. R. A. Butter

Is not the Minister aware that continued delay in making an announcement on this subject is causing grave anxiety to people who wish to remain in India as members of these Services; is he further aware that nothing concrete is apparently coming out of his recent Mission, and will be persuade the Government to come to a decision satisfactory to these men as soon as possible?

Mr. Henderson

I am sure that, if the right hon. Gentleman will await the announcement which will be made shortly, he will not necessarily take it that nothing concrete came out of my recent visit to India. At the moment, I cannot go beyond the statement set out in my reply.

Major Bruce

Will my right hon. and learned Friend's Department accept responsibility for compensation for British officers serving with the Indian Army?

Mr. Henderson

The Secretary of State is responsible for all those who are members of his Services, and he would certainly accept responsibility for securing any compensation payable to those serving with the Armed Forces.

Mr. Stephen

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman see that the rank and file get compensation on the same terms as the officers?

Brigadier Low

Is it not a fact that the Secretary of State gave a pledge, in conversation with representatives of the Secretary of State's Services, that he would see that compensation was paid, and is it not further a fact that, on 26th July last year, an Order was published by G.H.O. India saying that compensation would be given to those officers to whom other employment was not offered?

Mr. Henderson

It is quite true to say that two pledges have been given that compensation will be paid to members of the Secretary of State's Services; the first, in 1945, was given by Mr. Amery, and the second, a reaffirmation of that pledge, was given by my noble Friend.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman recall that, in answer to a previous Question of mine, he said that the Indian Government were responsible for the pensions payable to the men with whom they had finished? If the Indian Government default—which they are likely to do—will the right hon. and learned Gentleman guarantee that the British Government will pay those pensions?

Mr. Henderson

The question of pensions is an entirely different matter. I am not prepared to accept any hypothetical suggestion that the Indian Government may default.