HC Deb 21 April 1948 vol 449 cc1789-90
12. Mrs. Middleton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many German students are being granted facilities to study at British universities during the course of 1948; and whether he will consider extending the facilities by which such students are enabled to study in this country, especially in the case of those students who desire to come to Britain for vacation courses.

Mr. Bevin

Twenty-one undergraduate and two post-graduate German students will spend the summer term at a British university. With regard to vacation courses this summer and to whole-time study during the next academic year, I shall be glad to continue to give facilities for any German students for whom places can be found, and for whom funds are available.

Mrs. Middleton

Will my right hon. Friend be as generous as possible in this matter, and will he also see that facilities are given to both men and women students to study here in the vacation as far as possible?

Mr. Bevin

Yes, certainly, and I appeal to the universities not to create too many difficulties for me when they get here.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

While appreciating the efforts which my right hon. Friend has made in this connection, may I ask him if he will also extend these facilities to young lecturers from German Universities who are coming here and to teachers in training, because many people feel that this is the wisest form of expenditure to bring about German, re-education?

Mr. Bevin

I have met the Vice-Chancellors and had a long talk with them, and I have asked for their co-operation and agreement. I have told them that, on the question of the re-education of Germany, I really depend on them very much, but, as the hon. Member has an influence with the universities, perhaps he could speed them up a bit.

Mr. Harrison

Will the Minister take into consideration the difficulties which people in this country have in finding university places?

Mrs. Jean Mann

Would my right hon. Friend assure the House that none of these facilities will in any way interrupt the normal course of education in our universities for our own ex-Service men, who are now waiting sometimes for a year or more?

Mr. Bevin

It is a very difficult problem. The House sometimes wants me to do things to make Germany safe for democracy, and, on the other hand, suggests to me that no sacrifices should be made by this country at all. In the next breath, hon. Members ask me to make sacrifices, and the Foreign Secretary has great difficulty in adjusting all these tendencies. With regard to students for whom a gap was created during the war, my information is—although it is a Ministry of Education job—that the scheme which I laid down when Minister of Labour has worked out very satisfactorily, and I do not want to interfere with the British students, but I must, somehow, win Germany away from the spirit of aggression and war which has troubled Europe for so many years.