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Refugees (Bermuda Conference)

Volume 389: debated on Wednesday 5 May 1943

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3.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give the House any information on the progress of conclusions of the United States and British Bermuda conference on refugees?

5.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can make any statement regarding decisions or recommendations arrived at by the Bermuda Conference on Refugees?

6.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give the House any information in regard to the decision arrived at by the Bermuda Conference?

As my hon. Friends will no doubt have noticed from the statement issued at the conclusion of the Bermuda meeting, a number of concrete recommendations have been made, but as these involve certain military considerations, they must for the present remain confidential. I hope, however, a further statement may be possible before long.

Have arrangements been concluded for dealing with the 29,000 available permits for entry into Palestine?

Quite apart from the Bermuda Conference, we have been doing all we can to facilitate that movement, which we want to see go ahead.

Will the House have an early opportunity of discussing all these matters?

It was the intention that a day should be made available, but I had rather hoped that I should be in a position to say more before the Debate takes place.

Is it intended that some statement will be made as to the recommendations of the Conference?

That is the intention, though of course it will have to be made in consultation with the United States Government.

Seeing that this Report has been held back so long, cannot the right hon. Gentleman give some assurance that the gates of this country will be opened at least to some moderate extent so as to allow some refugees to get in? We were given to understand long ago that this country, after consultation with others, would make some contribution.

These recommendations have only been in our hands since my right hon. Friend came back two or three days ago. I do not think there has been any great delay. As regards entry into this country, I have nothing to add to statements that the Home Secretary has made.

In view of the extreme urgency of the matter, could the right hon. Gentleman give any indication that a Debate will take place early in the next series of Sittings?

I had hoped that a statement might be made when the Debate takes place, but I doubt whether it will be possible to do that early in the next series of Sittings.