HC Deb 17 June 1959 vol 607 cc435-6
41. Mr. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he has taken to assist in calling a further conference on statelessness by the United Nations organisation.

32. Mrs. Butler

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reply he has sent to the request of the United Nations Secretary-General for the United Kingdom Government's views on the possibility of reconvening the conference on statelessness at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Mr. R. Allan

The Secretary-General's letter, to which the honourable Lady the Member for Wood Green (Mrs. Butler) refers, was received only recently. It raises a number of questions which will have to be decided before a further Conference can be convened. The Secretary-General asks for a reply before the 1st August. Our reply will go well before that date, but it is not practical to consider in what ways we can assist in calling a further conference until it has been sent.

Mr. Janner

Whilst appreciating that reply, may I ask the hon. Gentleman to realise the great curse of statelessness which has befallen so many hundreds of thousands of people who have no definite Government to whom they can look for any protection? In view of the fact that some settlement or arrangement was nearly arrived at at the last conference, will the hon. Gentleman please press that a further conference should be held so that this state of despair can be removed from the shoulders of these people?

Mr. Allan

I quite agree with the hon. Member. As he knows, Her Majesty's Government pressed hard during the conference for an agreement. We will continue to press for a resumption of the conference but, until the Secretary-General has had a reply to his letters, it will not be possible for any country to take action individually.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that His Majesty's Government played a great part in successful action among the nations between the wars in helping stateless people? Ought we not now to do the same?

Mr. Allan

We are taking the lead in this matter but it is one for the other Governments concerned as well.

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