HC Deb 04 March 1948 vol 448 cc498-9
3. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he is aware that the Government of India is proposing to take over compulsorily, without payment, the various soldiers' homes in the cantonments vacated by British troops, although these homes were provided by private British benefactors for the benefit of British troops; and whether he will make strong representations to the Indian Government that the owners of these homes should be permitted to sell them, with a view to making use of the proceeds for the purpose of opening similar homes elsewhere.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

I am asking the United Kingdom High Commissioner in India for a report on the case of which the hon. and gallant Member has sent me particulars, and I will communicate further with him on receipt of a reply.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these soldiers' homes were founded privately for the benefit of British soldiers serving in India, that they can be of no use whatever to Indian soldiers, who would not touch the food provided nor appreciate the European amenities given there, and will he not urge the High Commissioner to see that these privately-owned homes are allowed to be sold for the benefit of similar institutions elsewhere?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

I fully appreciate that. We have no evidence at all that there is any possibility of the Government of India not accepting that position, but we are making inquiries about it in the light of the facts which the hon. and gallant Gentleman has brought to my attention.