HC Deb 17 February 1954 vol 523 cc1958-60
10. Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the total sum contributed by the United Kingdom to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Arab refugees to the nearest convenient date; and whether it is intended to increase the contribution owing to the extension of the original three-year programme by a further period of two years.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

The total sum contributed up to 30th June, 1953, was £12 million. Of this amount, £3½ million is in suspense, earmarked for future resettlement projects.

The three-year programme ending on 30th June, 1954, has been extended by one year, and not two as stated by my hon. Friend. The contribution of Her Majesty's Government in respect of this further year will be decided in the light of the review of the Agency's programme which is to be undertaken by the General Assembly in the autumn of 1954.

Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

Would it be correct to say that the contribution made by Her Majesty's Government compares very favourably with that made by any other country, and that until the Arab States themselves accept the principle of settlement of Arab refugees, whatever is done by the United Nations organisation can only be in the form of a temporary palliative of this appalling problem?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

I fully agree with what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Philips Price

Can the Minister say whether any part of the money already spent has gone towards resettlement of the Arab refugees?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

I cannot say that definitely, but I think that, if so, it will have been a very small part.

Mr. Younger

Since it appears to me to be the settled policy of the Arab Governments at the present time not to allow a settlement of this problem, is the hon. Gentleman aware of the need in the near future to find some way of giving them some inducement to change their mind, because at present there is a widespread impression that they are making a good thing out of the influx of all these United Nations funds and are in no hurry to settle the problem?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

The point of the right hon. Gentleman's remarks is, of course, under constant consideration.

Major Legge-Bourke

Would the Minister say whether there is the remotest likelihood of getting this matter cleared up in the extended period, and if there is not, as I suspect there is not, will Her Majesty's Government take direct action through the United Nations or by any other means open to them to try to solve the political deadlock which must be solved before this social problem can be eased?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

As to the likelihood of a settlement, one cannot say here and now what the chances are. Every endeavour will be made by Her Majesty's Government to reach a settlement of these problems.

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