HC Deb 15 June 1950 vol 476 cc537-8
31. Mr. Hollis

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will give permission to General Zivcovic and 37 other Yugoslav generals, at present classed as displaced persons at Schloss Varlar in the British zone, to come to this country.

Mr. Ede

As I informed the House on 4th May, His Majesty's Government have undertaken to admit up to 2,000 displaced persons and refugees now in the care of the International Refugee Organisation in Germany and Austria for whom accommodation and maintenance can be provided by relatives, friends or voluntary organisations. Applications may be made on behalf of the generals to whom the hon. Member refers, but in selecting the limited number who can be admitted under the scheme it is proposed to give priority to persons with relatives in the United Kingdom and to children.

Mr. Hollis

Is the Home Secretary aware that, whereas from one point of view one appreciates his principle, there is a very large number of people in this modern world, people of integrity and ability, who are unable to play any part in the life of their own natural country or in any other country? Will he not agree that the fact that they have no friends or relatives is surely a reason not for not giving them consideration but for giving them consideration?

Mr. Ede

The unfortunate thing is that in the world at the present time there are, I venture to say, millions of such people. If I did not exercise some discrimination about them it would only be the carrying capacity of ships and aeroplanes that would determine the number of people who applied for permission to come to this country. It is a matter of grief to me that I cannot admit all the people who would like to come, but I have to discriminate. The hon. Gentleman can rest assured that, as far as these men are concerned, I will exercise as much sympathy as the interest of this country will allow.

Major Tufton Beamish

Will the Home Secretary perhaps give special consideration to these cases, as these senior officers were taken prisoners by the Germans when, with great gallantry, they led the Yugoslavs early in the war? Is it not awful that such distinguished men should spend the rest of their lives on the German dole?

Mr. Ede

I hope I have indicated that I will examine these cases with sympathy. I do not deprecate the special pleading but very similar cases can be put up, I regret to say, for thousands of equally deserving persons on the Continent of Europe.