HC Deb 12 February 1948 vol 447 cc546-7
9. Mr. Heathcoat Amory

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Government intend to offer British nationality to those Poles who fought with us in the war and wish to make their homes permanently in this country.

Mr. Ede

I have hitherto been prevented from taking up these cases by the necessity of dealing first with the heavy arrears of naturalisation work. In the Metropolis, the arrears are still substantial, but elsewhere they have been overtaken; and I am now making preparations to deal with applications from those Poles who have the statutory qualifications, have passed through the Resettlement Corps and have been for a year in work. A detailed announcement will be made at an early date as to the procedure to be followed by such applicants, and I would ask that, in the meantime, applications should not be submitted to my Department, as premature applications will result in delays.

Mr. Amory

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that there are many of us who were concerned with the Polish forces during the war who feel acutely that these lads, who fought steadfastly with us, have not received the generous treatment they were promised in accordance with our traditions, or the wishes of the nation at large?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. I can believe that that is the hon. Gentleman's view, but I cannot believe that it is the fact.

Mr. S. Silverman

In order to get the benefit of the arrangements which my right hon. Friend has just announced, is it necessary that a man shall be by origin a Pole, or will the same thing be applied to any aliens?

Mr. Ede

Aliens who have served in the Forces have already received very generous treatment, and have been allowed to rank for priority.

Lord Willoughby de Eresby

Will an announcement be made in regard to how the detailed procedure should be followed?

Mr. Ede

It may be possible, and I hope it will, to make an announcement in this House, and I will see that suitable publicity is given to it through the Press.

Mr. Stokes

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether, in view of the fact that his answer seems to indicate that one of the qualifications is that a man shall have worked for one year in this country, consideration will be given to the fact that quite a large number have not been allowed to work?

Mr. Ede

People who have to report to me, with a recommendation that these persons shall or shall not receive the benefits of naturalisation, must have some opportunity of seeing these people living in reasonably normal conditions, and I think the requirement that they should have been working for a year is the minimum that I could contemplate. In fact, I regard it as very generous treatment to them indeed.

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