HC Deb 19 February 1958 vol 582 cc1183-4
4. Miss Burton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is now in a position to make a statement concerning the contribution to be made by Her Majesty's Government to the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in so far as this affects European refugees in Hong Kong.

14. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what financial resources are available to the High Commissioner for Refugees for 1958 for shipping from Hong Kong; for how many refugees will shipping space be available; how many European refugees are awaiting removal from Hong Kong; and what is the number of refugees from North China equipped with visas but unable to enter Hong Kong.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I am glad to be able to inform the House that Her Majesty's Government propose, subject to Parliamentary approval, to make a contribution of £25,000 to the High Commissioner for Refugees towards the cost of resettling European refugees from China.

The financial resources available for 1958 will depend on how others respond to the High Commissioner's recent appeal for funds. There is ample shipping space available. The number of European refugees awaiting passage from Hong Kong on 12th February was 993. Three hundred and twenty-four European refugees in North China have applied for and are awaiting the issue of Hong Kong transit visas. Upwards of 5,000 European refugees in North China have entry visas for countries of resettlement but, so far as is known, have not yet applied for Hong Kong transit visas.

Miss Burton

Without commenting on the actual amount to be given, is the Minister aware that this reply will give considerable satisfaction, particularly to the organisation concerned? Might I also ask him if he is aware that it will give special satisfaction, in view of the fact that since the appeal was launched last August ten Governments have helped financially, of which we were not one?

Mr. Rankin

Is the Minister satisfied that the £25,000, though welcome, is a sufficient sum in view of the magnitude of the problem, and also the fact that the High Commissioner for Refugees has only got 300,000 dollars for 1958 to try to meet the needs of these refugees?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Yes, Sir, but we must consider this in relation to our other financial commitments to refugees all over the world. I think this will set a good example, and I hope funds will come in from other quarters which will help to move these people on from Hong Kong.

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