HC Deb 28 April 1948 vol 450 cc370-1
4. Mr. M. Philips Price

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the numbers of applicants from Iraq, Syria, the Lebanon and Egypt who have sought to, enter educational institutions in this country during the last 12 months; and how may have been admitted to courses of study here.

Mr. Bevin

I regret that the information requested in the first half of my hon. Friend's Question is not available and that the second half cannot be answered accurately. I am informed, however, that during the last 12 months about 22 applicants from Iraq, about 11 from Syria, about 27 from the Lebanon and about 85 from Egypt have been admitted to courses of study in this country.

Mr. Price

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a considerable desire on the part of young Arabs to come to this country to enter educational institutions, and is it not in the interests of good relations with these countries that we should encourage this as much as possible?

Mr. Bevin

I am quite aware of that fact, but the first duty placed upon the British universities since the close of the war is to make up for the terrible gap which was created during the war. I would like to pay a tribute to the universities, as I was responsible at that time for closing down the Arts courses, and to thank them for the magnificent work they have done to make good the damage caused by that act of mine. I have to have regard to the number of places available, and I will do my best in this matter.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a larger number of Arab students in this country today than ever before, in spite of the congestion?