HC Deb 09 December 1942 vol 385 cc1584-5W
Miss Rathbone

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will represent to the Governments of the United Nations the desirability of facilitating the rescue of Jewish and other persons who manage to escape from Poland or other Axis-occupied countries by a generous issue of visas and transit visas by those countries which are not Axis-occupied and, in the case of nations whose Governments are situated in this country, by their making known their willingness to support and utilise the services of any of their reliable nationals who succeed in escaping to this or other friendly countries?

Mr. Eden

I am in regular consultation with the Governments of the United Nations most closely concerned. I, am prepared to consider whether special representations would be helpful, but so far as British overseas territories are concerned I can state that the possibilities have been most carefully examined and accommodation for refugees offered to the fullest extent practicable, at a time when British territories are straining their resources to the utmost in maintaining very large numbers of British and Allied evacuees, as well as prisoners and internees. In certain instances more visas have been made available than can be utilised in view of the difficulty of obtaining exit permits from the occupied countries and the exigencies of the shipping situation. As regards Allied nationals with qualifications fitting them for service in the war effort, His Majesty's Government consider sympathetically, in consultation with the Allied Governments concerned, all such individual cases as are submitted to them, and facilities are regularly afforded for suitable persons to proceed, when shipping opportunities allow, to the territory in which their services can be best employed.