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European Relief Policy (Co-Ordination)

Volume 411: debated on Wednesday 6 June 1945

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6

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the anxiety caused by the reduction in rations and the conflicting reports of the condition, and needs of the populations of liberated countries, he will issue a White Paper giving authoritative information.

While sympathising with the objects which my hon. Friend has in mind, I am satisfied that any summary of information issued now would so soon become obsolete that it would not justify the great labour involved in its production.

Is the report issued by S.H.A.E.F., stating that there was starvation in Europe, authoritative, in view of other statements which have been made regarding Holland, Belgium and France?

It is extremely difficult to generalise about conditions in Europe. In some parts they are better than in others, in some parts they are very bad.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider issuing a statement showing just what can be done in the sending of food, and what it was planned to do, and which are the agencies?

A good deal of that information has been made available in the House, but I will see that the hon. Member's suggestion is considered.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that it is important for the morale of our troops overseas that they should not be under the impression that there has been any reduction in the rations of their families at home on account of the necessity of feeding Germans?

8.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the need for a co-ordinated policy for displaced persons, a representative of U.N.R.R.A. sits on the Inter-Governmental Committee for Refugees.

I understand that a representative of U.N.R.R.A. attends plenary sessions of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Refugees, in the capacity of an observer, and that representatives of the Inter-Governmental Committee attend the European Regional Committee of U.N.R.R.A. and the Technical Sub-Committee of U.N.R.R.A. in a similar capacity. The importance of a co-ordinated policy is fully appreciated, and I am informed that relations between the two administrations are close and cordial.

Would not my right hon. Friend consider having a member of U.N.R.R.A. as a full member on the Inter-Governmental Committee?

As far as I know, the present arrangements are working with perfect satisfaction to both parties. If there were any change, we would consider whether any improvement was necessary.

In view of the fact that when the Inter-Governmental Committee was set up U.N.R.R.A. did not exist, is not the position worth reconsidering? An observer cannot take part in discussions, and it is obvious to anyone who has studied the functions of these two bodies that there is a great possibility of their overlapping.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the rapid return of displaced persons to their homes is one of the most important contributions to economic reconstruction that can be made, and will his Majesty's representatives give the fullest support to the efforts of U.N.R.R.A. on that matter?

Is my right hon. Friend confident that his Majesty's representatives have been supporting U.N.R.R.A. in this matter recently?

I am confident that His Majesty's Government have been doing everything they can to support U.N.R.R.A. in this matter of displaced persons and in all other matters with which they deal.

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how he proposes to ensure the satisfactory integration of U.N.R.R.A. with the Allied Control Commission operating in Germany in order that the interests of displaced persons may be adequately safeguarded.

I am fully aware of the importance of this matter, which is at present under active consideration.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why the preparations for the Allied Control Commission have taken such a very long time?

I suppose it is because the situation changes so rapidly from day to day, and, until we see how the Control Commission does, in fact, operate, it is very difficult to lay down hard and fast plans for its operation.

Has the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster taken any action in this matter; and will he represent us at Berlin, or in any other capacity?

Perhaps the right hon. Baronet will put that question down. It is another and wider question.