HC Deb 28 January 1960 vol 616 cc346-7
12. Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out the terms of his Circular Number H.0./119 of 10th September, 1959, giving instructions or advice to police forces in the United Kingdom that have caused them to press Ukrainian nationals living in this country to register themselves as Russian or Polish.

Mr. Renton

The relevant paragraphs of the circular remind chief officers of police of long-standing instructions under which aliens are registered as nationals of sovereign States currently recognised by Her Majesty's Government. In the case of Ukrainians who object to registration in this way, the police have been advised to register them as of uncertain nationality with the letter "U." In any event, their position as residents of this country is in no way affected.

Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

My hon. and learned Friend has said that the Ukraine is not an independent sovereign State, but does he agree that it has a Government and foreign office of its own; that it is a member of the United Nations; that Great Britain and eight other European countries recognised its independence in 1918, and that in the U.S.S.R. it is a crime for a Ukrainian to register himself as anything but a Ukrainian? Will my hon. and learned Friend therefore consider the matter again and be a little more sympathetic to this proud and independent nation? Will he also bear in mind that a nation which has suffered so much and for so long in its struggle for independence becomes easily alarmed? Can he give an even more categorical assurance that the Ukrainians' security of residence in this country is in no way threatened by the issue of this circular?

Mr. Renton

Under the law people have to register as nationals of those countries which have been given separate recognition by Her Majesty's Government. The Ukraine is not so recognised, and any question relating to recognition is for the Foreign Office. As I said in my main Answer, people who claim Ukrainian nationality are given this amount of sympathy: that they may be registered as being of uncertain nationality, and the letter "U" is added after their names.

Mr. Maurice Macmillan

I understand that the main object is to achieve consistency of record. In that case, would my hon. and learned Friend consider amending the procedure so that it achieves that object without causing so much distress to a lot of people? Will he consider registering these people as Ukrainians, with the letter "G", "P", or "R" following, to designate that they are German, Polish and Russian respectively, if it is required to designate the country of origin?

Mr. Renton

I should like to consider that possibility. My fear is that it would not comply with the present law.

Mr. Teeling

Cannot my hon. and learned Friend consider adopting the system used in France, where Ukrainians are in very much the same position as they are here, and where they are called Ukrainian refugees and have accepted that description? Could not they be called the same thing here?

Mr. Renton

I will also consider that suggestion.