HC Deb 29 July 1953 vol 518 cc150-2W
64. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is yet in a position to make a comprehensive statement on the results of the consultations between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Federal German Government on the draft law recently approved by the German Government in Bonn and designed to give compensation to victims in Germany of Nazi persecution; whether as a result of these consultations or otherwise the draft law has yet been extended so as to include non-German displaced persons left in Germany; what progress this Bill has made to date; and if he will have a translation of it into English put in the Vote Office

Mr. Nutting

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees wrote to the Allied High Commission on 25th June reporting the result of his consultations with the Federal German authorities regarding the draft Federal compensation law. The High Commissioner states that some of the suggestions put through his representative in Germany were accepted by the German authorities during the drafting of the law and he regards the draft law as being on the whole adequate from the point of view of refugees within the competence of his office.

He points out, however, that many refugees will not benefit because they do not fulfil the conditions in Article 8 of the draft law, or because they may not have been persecuted for the reasons set out in Article 1. He draws attention to the difference between scales of compensation envisaged for persecutees on grounds of race, faith, ideology or political convictions and persecutees on grounds of nationality, and asks for a wider interpretation by the courts of the latter ground. He also asks that national persecutees should be specially considered as eligible for compensation from the hardship fund provided by the law, and requests the Allied High Commission "to take such action as may be deemed appropriate" to secure improvements in the above matters.

The draft law provides compensation for those non-German displaced persons left in Germany who have been persecuted on grounds of nationality and suffered permanent injury to health. As the United Nations High Commissioner's letter shows, however, there are certain deficiencies in the law in this respect and the United Nations High Commissioner's request to secure appropriate improvements is at present under consideration in the Allied High Commission.

The draft Federal compensation law passed its second and third readings in the Lower House of the Federal German Parliament on 2nd July. On 17th July it came before the Upper House which requested the Inter-House Arbitration Committee to attempt to find a compromise on a point of dispute. I understand that this has been done, and it is expected that the law will be passing through its final parliamentary stages during today's special last session of the present Federal German Legislature.

I have arranged for an unofficial English translation of the draft law to be made available in the Library.

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