HC Deb 15 July 1948 vol 453 cc1384-6
20. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he will represent to His Majesty's Government in Pakistan the importance of retaining the Union Jack Club, Karachi, for the use of British personnel serving in the Armed Forces of Pakistan.

The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker)

I understand that the trustees of the Union Jack Club in Karachi are now discussing its future with the Government of Pakistan. I am sure that the Government of Pakistan will give due weight to the need for adequate amenities for these men.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is the Secretary of State aware that this club is provided for the use of British Service men out of patriotic and canteen funds, is of inestimable benefit to the 500 or 600 British Service men still remaining in Karachi and is practically irreplaceable? Further, is he aware that the Pakistan Government is proposing to requisition this Club for the use of officers?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, Sir. The situation has changed and, as the hon. and gallant Member knows, there are difficulties, but I think he can have confidence in the trustees of the Club to do what is right.

Sir Ralph Glyn

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House whether he can make similar representations regarding like institutions in ports in India as well as in Pakistan?

Mr. Noel-Baker

That is a different question. I will consider it, but I think that at this stage we should do well to leave the matter to the trustees of this particular Club.

Dr. Segal

Does the Minister think that the number of British personnel serving with the Pakistan Forces justifies their exclusive use of this Club?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I should not like to pronounce upon that question from this Box.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is the Secretary of State aware that this Club is private property and has nothing at all to do with Government property; is he further aware that the trustees are having very great difficulty in persuading the Government of Pakistan not to requisition this Club, and will he make representations as to the desirability of the trustees' representations being met?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, Sir. I have said I will certainly consider making representations. I know that our High Commissioner is already in contact with this matter and will do what is necessary.