§ 2. Mr. John Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many refugees in Shanghai have applied to the Far-Eastern representative of the Inter - Governmental Committee on Refugees for admission to the United Kingdom to join their relatives here; and when it is anticipated that the final selection of those permitted to enter this country will be made.
§ Mr. Ede
The Distressed Relatives Scheme was designed to relieve distress in Europe. I could not extend it to other parts of the world; but I agreed that 50 of the refugees in Shanghai with relatives in this country might be granted visas for the United Kingdom. I understand that about 600 applied, and that the final selection has just been completed.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman
Can my right hon. Friend tell the House the principle on which he differentiates between Europe and Shanghai in applying the principle that we do admit people into this country when they are in distress, and when—and both conditions are relevant—their only relatives are here, and it is the only method of re-uniting families?
§ Air-Commodore Harvey
Could the right hon. Gentleman say what is the attitude of the American Government towards refugees in Shanghai?
§ Mr. Silverman
When my right hon. Friend says he has to draw the line somewhere, is it not a fact that we are proposing to give British citizenship and residence to hundreds of thousands of German prisoners of war; and can he say, if the sole surviving relative of a child in this country is a refugee in distress in Shanghai, 561 what principle of Government policy prevents him from applying in that case the principle he would apply if that relative was in distress in Germany?
§ Mr. Ede
I could not undertake to give an answer on all those points in reply to a supplementary question. I can assure the House that, as far as my personal wishes are concerned, if I had no public interests to consider I should be only too glad to admit all these people. However, I do have to have regard to the amount of accommodation in this country, and to the part that people admitted here can play in these days in the rebuilding of the economy of the country.