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Refugees (Bermuda Conference)

Volume 388: debated on Wednesday 7 April 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what progress has been made with the arrangements for the proposed conference at Bermuda between the British and the United States Governments concerning the rescue of victims from the Nazi terror; whether the date of the conference has been fixed; the names of the representatives to take part; the terms of reference; and whether the conference will be purely exploratory or will be able to decide on immediate measures of rescue?

While I was in Washington I had the opportunity of discussing this question with Mr. Cordell Hull, and it was decided that the conference should take place at an early date and as soon as the delegates could be assembled. The names of the British and American delegates will be announced as soon as practicable, in agreement with the United States Government. The discussions, for which an agenda has been agreed, will be exploratory in character but will naturally include any measures for relief of refugees, in addition to those already in operation, which may appear immediately practicable to the two Governments.

Will it then be possible for the conference to agree on immediate relief measures and not merely to discuss them for reference back to some other body?

I think my answer is clear. It says:

"naturally include any measures for the relief of refugees in addition to those already in operation."
If that is so, they can decide on immediate steps as far as they concern their two Governments. Of course, if they concern other Governments, these will have to be referred to them.