HC Deb 15 June 1955 vol 542 cc586-8
42. Mr. Fenner Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action he has taken regarding the expulsion of Mr. Manila11 Jalabhay and Mr. Khemlall Loljee, Indo-Mauritians and British subjects, from the French island of Reunion on the ground that they were employed in the jewellery trade, in view of the fact that discrimination was shown against them.

44. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that two Indo-Mauritian subjects, Manilall Jalabhay and Khemlall Loljee, have been expelled from Reunion Island for practising jewellery; and what action he is taking in the matter, in view of this discrimination against British subjects.

Mr. Turton

Mr. Jalabhay and Mr. Loljee were asked by the Prefect of Reunion to leave the island on the ground that they had been operating as jewellers in spite of the refusal of a trader's licence. The action was taken under local ordinances which forbid any foreigner to engage in the jewellery trade, and there seems to be no question of discrimination in these cases. Her Majesty's Consul at Reunion intervened in both cases but the Prefect refused to cancel the expulsion orders.

Mr. Jalabhay applied to the Tribunal Administratif for a stay of execution. This application was refused, but he has been given permission to have the legality of the Prefect's action examined in the courts.

Mr. Brockway

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these two British subjects have lived in Reunion for 20 years, that one of them is married to a French woman, and has nine children—[Laughter.]—which suggests that he has done his duty according to French standards? Will the hon. Gentleman refer to the Franco-British Convention of 1882, which lays it down that British and French subjects shall be allowed to practise any trade or profession in the territories of either country? Will he look into the matter again?

Mr. Turton

I was not aware of the whole of the family details of these British subjects, but the hon. Gentleman will be aware from what I have said that Her Majesty's Consul has gone into the case very fully and that this matter may be sub judice at the present time. It would be unwise, therefore, for me to say anything further.

Mr. Johnson

Will the hon. Gentleman take it from me that there is much feeling in the island about this, and that these gentlemen have been there 20 years? Will he please use his best efforts in this case, and induce good neighbourly relations among the Indo-Mauritians and the other, people of the island?

Mr. Turton

These ordinances were passed as long ago as 1938 and 1940, and, therefore, the people of the island are well aware of them.