HC Deb 07 July 1958 vol 591 cc25-6
39. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of the growing support for the inauguration of a world refugee year; and whether he will take steps to ensure that such a proposal comes before the forthcoming meeting of the United Nations General Assembly

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Commander Allan Noble)

Yes, Sir. I shall certainly bear in mind the hon. Lady's suggestion.

Dame Irene Ward

While thanking my right hon. and gallant Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he could go a little further and not merely bear the suggestion in mind but, when he has borne it in mind, let me know what might result from it?

Commander Noble

As my right hon. and learned Friend said the other day, the Government are still considering this proposal. It would be premature to go further today.

Mr. Younger

If it is intended to do anything at the United Nations General Assembly this year, does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman not think that this is a matter which he should not bear in mind much longer but on which he must do something? Can he not suggest to his right hon. Friend the other Minister of State that the occasion of the Economic and Social Council in Geneva might be a very good time to collect a few voices from other countries and to get support for this proposal?

Commander Noble

I will certainly consider what the right hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Will the Minister of State represent to his right hon. and learned Friend that if the Government would take up this proposal and put a little capital into it, they could liquidate the refugee problem for much less money than it now costs to sustain the refugees year by year?

Commander Noble

I fully realise that there is a great deal in what the right hon. Gentleman has said, but as I think he knows, we make a substantial contribution to the various refugee funds.