HC Deb 02 June 1954 vol 528 cc1253-4
18. Mr. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will instruct Her Majesty's representatives at the forthcoming Session of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations at Geneva to give support to the Five-Year Programme submitted by the High Commissioner for Refugees for the promotion of permanent solutions of the refugee problem.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Nutting)

Her Majesty's Government have only lately received the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees which sets out the full implications of his proposal for a 12 million dollar integration fund for refugees. This report is now being considered.

Mr. Janner

Will the hon. Gentleman say that it is being considered sympathetically and favourably? Is he aware that there are 22 very important organisations dealing with social problems in this country who are concerned with this matter and who are very anxious that it should be dealt with in a full and sympathetic manner? Will he at a later stage be prepared to say whether or not he will give the instructions referred to in the Question?

Mr. Nutting

As the hon. Gentleman knows, it is not the practice of Her Majesty's Government—either the present Government or the late Government—to divulge instructions given to the representatives at international organisations in advance of their being acted upon. In the second place, I would prefer to say that this report is being considered by Her Majesty's Government without adding any adverb to the word "considered." We must guard against any suggestion that national refugees should be regarded as an international responsibility. That is a basic tenet of the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and there may be some danger in this proposal of turning a national responsibility into an international responsibility.