Skip to main content

Refugees (Visas)

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 13 May 1943

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Home Secretary whether he has considered the case, of which particulars have been furnished him, of a young refugee in an enemy-occupied country whose parents are in this country and have guaranteed his maintenance, who has been promised a visa for a neighbouring neutral country on the condition that a visa for this or some other country of safety is known to the neutral country to be available; and when he expects that the regulations which have hitherto prevented the admission of such refugees to the country will be modified so as to permit the reconsideration of this and similar cases?

I have considered the particulars furnished to me, but they do not bear out the statements made in the first part of my hon. Friend's Question. I am, however, prepared to authorise a visa for this country if the youth can succeed in reaching a neutral country. Instructions are being issued to this effect, but I have no information which suggests that this authorisation will be of any assistance to him in escaping from enemy occupied territory, where he appears to be at present. As regards the last part of the Question, I am not in a position to make any statement on this subject at present.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the neutral country in question definitely said that they would issue a visa if we did? Now he has said that he will probably issue a visa if the neutral country first of all takes in the youth. Is it not about time that we stopped this game of ball between one country and another and in this case gave a visa first, thus showing a generous example?

There is no game of ball. I have made it perfectly clear that I am willing to grant a visa if the youth escapes into neutral territory. My hon. Friend is asking me about the issue of visas into enemy-occupied territory. No machinery exists for that, and it is an extraordinary proposal that the British Government should issue visas into enemy-occupied territory. It would be most dangerous, and if I did it in this case, it would be more likely to do the youth harm than good.

But that is not what was asked in the letter from the neutral country, a copy of which I sent to my right hon. Friend. All that was asked was that the neutral country should be informed that a visa from this country would be available if the youth first got into the neutral country. The Minister is preventing entry into a neutral country unless he gives this visa.