HC Deb 22 January 1941 vol 368 cc207-8W
Mr. Wedgwood

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether he is in a position to state the fate of recent illegal immigrants into Palestine; what is being done with them; to which British Colony they are being deported; and how many refugees have been treated in a like manner since the steamship "Patria" accident;

(2) whether further Jewish refugees have been sent on to Mauritius since the sinking of the "Patria," and, if so, at whose expense are they maintained and shipped?

Mr. George Hall

In accordance with the policy stated in my reply to a Question by the right hon. Member on 4th December, those Jews who were recently intercepted in an attempt to enter Palestine illegally and who were not on board the steamship "Patria" when it sank in Haifa Harbour, have been deported to Mauritius for detention for the duration of the war. The number so deported was 1,634. The cost of their shipment to and maintenance in Mauritius will be a charge on United Kingdom funds.

Mr. Wedgwood

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies why no Jews are being given permits to enter Palestine in view of the fact that the food products of Palestine can no longer be exported?

Mr. Hall

The decision that no immigration quota should be issued for the current six months' period was taken partly on the ground that under present conditions prospective legal immigrants can seldom reach Palestine within the period contemplated for their absorption in the economic life of the country; and partly in the light of the difficult economic conditions and widespread unemployment caused by the war.