HC Deb 13 May 1948 vol 450 cc2271-2
41. Mr. A. R. W. Low

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he is aware that some ex-members of the non-Secretary of State services in India have recently had their appointments abruptly terminated without reasons given; and that they are unable to return to the United Kingdom owing to the shortage of passages; and whether in view of the special circumstances he will take special steps to assist them to return home

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

I understand that some officers have been told that their services are no longer required, but I regret that I have no detailed information. Passenger accommodation is still scarce, but special measures have been taken to provide ships for persons who wish to leave India. As a result it is hoped that they will all have been cleared within a short time. Passages are allocated in India, and I think it would be unwise for me to intervene on behalf of any particular category of passenger. If I did so, I should upset the working of the allocation scheme and should create difficulties of various kinds.

Mr. Low

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that those men who relied upon the undertaking that there would be no discrimination against them if they remained in the service of the Government of India should be specially treated, in view of the fact that the undertaking has been broken for reasons we need not go into?

Mr. Noel-Baker

As I have said, I have no detailed information, and, therefore, I can say nothing about it; but I am in general agreement that we ought to do all we can to help these people.

Mr. Mikardo

Does my right hon. Friend recall that some recent action he took by way of intervention with the Government of India secured a very valuable concession to a certain section of these people, including foremen in Government factories?