HC Deb 04 June 1951 vol 488 cc684-6
48. Mr. John Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proposals His Majesty's Government have in view for assisting in the work of rehabilitation and resettlement of refugees in Germany and elsewhere when the International Refugee Organisation ceases its functions this year.

Mr. Younger

As regards the disposal, after the International Refugee Organisation has ceased operations, of refugees who come at present under its mandate, I would refer to the answer given on 11th May to the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes (Major Beamish). With regard to action in the Middle and Far East, His Majesty's Government have played a leading part in establishing the organisations set up by the United Nations to assist Palestinian and Korean refugees, and will continue to give them their full support.

Mr. Hynd

While thanking my right hon. Friend for the latter part of his answer, may I say that I am well aware of what is contained in the previous answer to which he has referred me in the first part of his reply? Will he at least tell me whether the Government fully appreciate that, apart altogether from humanitarian considerations, the situation created by the packing of millions of refugees into Germany is highly dangerous from the point of view of Western civilisation? Can he give us any assurance that the matter will be receiving the continued attention of the United Nations?

Mr. Younger

I think that my hon. Friend will appreciate that there are many different categories of refugee. The vast number of those to whom he refers are probably Germans in Germany. I may be wrong about that. The majority of the refugees who formerly were dealt with by the International Refugee Organisation have been resettled. The wider problem will be considered shortly by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Sir H. Williams

Is the hon. Gentleman doing the Foreign Secretary's job because the Foreign Secretary is so busy today doing the Prime Minister's job?

49. Mr. Pickthorn

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps are being taken or proposed by His Majesty's Government, via the United Nations or otherwise, to help generally Arabs expatriated from Israeli territory.

Mr. Younger

I stated in the House on 19th July, 1950, that the British representative on the Advisory Commission to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency had been instructed to propose that the Agency should provide all possible assistance to certain Arabs who had been expelled from Israel. Such assistance was, in fact, given by the Agency. In similar circumstances, His Majesty's Government would again be prepared to recommend to the Agency that assistance should be made available.

Mr. Pickthorn

Has consideration been given to the possibility of unfreezing Arab assets held on Palestinian territory?

Mr. Younger

I think that is a question that varies rather widely from that which is on the Order Paper.

Mr. Gammans

Is the Minister aware that while the United Nations are keeping these unfortunate people alive nothing has been done to settle them permanently, and that Jordan, where half a million refugees are living in the most distressing circumstances, cannot possibly absorb one-third of that number, whatever help may be given?

Mr. Younger

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that the problem of resettlement is the one which is proving intractable. We went into this question at some length in a debate quite recently, and I cannot undertake to answer that supplementary question fully in the time available.