HC Deb 16 May 1960 vol 623 cc905-6
21. Mr. A. Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now state whether the World Refugee Fund will receive additional Government grants.

Mr. R. Allan

I have nothing to add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State to the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Ginsburg) on 9th May.

Mr. Roberts

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there seems to be an air of mystery about this matter? Would he not agree that the Government ought to do one thing or the other and should say whether they intend to make a grant before 31st May?

Mr. Allan

There is no mystery. I have said in debates, and my right hon. and learned Friend and others have said, that we intend to await the end of the year before making an announcement about our final contribution.

Dame Irene Ward

While accepting my hon. Friend's statement on this matter, may I ask whether he is aware that his right hon. Friend, in answer to a Question the other day, indicated—at least, this is the sense of his answer— that there would be an added contribution? Am I right in assuming that that is what he intended to say? It would give a great deal of pleasure to everybody if it were so.

Mr. Allan

I do not think I can go any further at this moment than my right hon. Friend went.

Mr. Manuel

Does not the Minister recognise that he is giving no information to the House by saying that the Government are waiting till the end of the year before giving a decision? Does he realise that it would give a tremendous fillip to the country if the Government were to make a susbtantial contribution to let the nation see that they are really interested in the World Refugee Fund?

Mr. Allan

There may be different views about that. One of the most striking features of this appeal has been that people have felt that this was their affair and not something to be left to the Government to do. It seems appropriate, therefore, if one accepts that line, that having opened the campaign with a contribution which they subsequently doubled, the Government should withhold their final contribution until the end of the year.

Mr. Healey

In view of the overwhelming public concern that Her Majesty's Government should give a contribution worthy of our country's standing in the world, is it not evasive of the Government to avoid announcing their final decision until it will be too late for the House to discuss their final decision?

Mr. Allan

No, I am sure that consideration does not enter into the matter at all.

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