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Refugees (Inter- Governmental Committee)

Volume 393: debated on Wednesday 3 November 1943

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12.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from which of the States invited to appoint representatives to the Inter-Governmental Committee on Refugees are answers still awaited; whether, in view of the time elapsed since the decision to reconstitute the Committee, steps are being taken to hasten the completion of its membership; and how soon may a statement on the work accomplished or planned by the Committee be expected?

The hon. Lady can rest assured that the Committee is taking all suitable steps to complete its membership. In regard, however, to general statements on the progress of planning the Committee's work, I would refer to my reply to the hon. Lady on 13th October, when I described the international and independent character of the Inter-Governmental Committee, of which His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom are only one of a number of other Member-Governments. It would, therefore, be more appropriate that requests for information as to the progress of the Committee's work should be addressed to the Committee's headquarters, which, as the hon. Lady is aware, are here in London.

Cannot we be informed which countries are not yet represented? In view of the fact that the whole matter of rescue and post-war settlement of refugees was referred to the Inter-Governmental Committee as long ago as last April, is it not time that the House was told something of what the Committee are doing; and is it not time that this very small and unrealistically-composed executive committee was reconstituted? May I have an answer?