§ 52. Mr. Beswick
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent changes have been made in Government policy on evacuation of the 1177 civil population in the event of war; and what approaches he has made to Commonwealth countries with a view to securing their co-operation in this matter.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
I cannot yet add to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mr. Baird) on 19th February. There have been no approaches of the nature referred to in the second part of the Question.
§ Mr. Beswick
How does the Home Secretary reconcile the second part of his Answer at any rate with some remarks which the Prime Minister made in Washington—incidentally, I addressed this Question originally to the Prime Minister—in which he said, referring to the possibility of a nuclear war, that he could not… ask for the approval of the evacuation of millions, many of them children, to far places of the Commonwealth until I have exhausted every other possibility.Is the idea of evacuating people to the Commonwealth now the policy of the Government? If so, is it not a matter which the House ought to be allowed to discuss before it is announced by the Prime Minister?
§ Mr. Butler
The Prime Minister made the observations to which the hon. Gentleman referred, but we have since that date made no approaches to Commonwealth countries with a view to securing their co-operation in this matter. That is exactly how the situation stands.