asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the hon. Member for Ipswich may expect a reply to his letters of 4th and 21st September, regarding officers and men of the Polish Mercantile Marine who do not wish to return to Poland and desire to have their position in this country regularised.
:I regret that I have not yet been in a position to reply to my hon. Friend's letters, which raise questions on which it is necessary to act in consultation with other Departments. The present position is that these men have been given leave to land on the normal conditions imposed on foreign seamen not resident in this country, namely that they resume sea employment within one month of discharge from their previous ship. I propose to give further consideration to this question in consultation with my right hon. Friends the Minister of Labour and the Minister of War Transport.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that before I wrote to him this matter had been brought up by the persons in question some three months previously, but nothing had been done? The position is still very unsatisfactory. Can he give any indication as to when a final decision will be taken?
I do not know what happened three months before I took office and I cannot answer for that. With regard to the other point I am actively engaged on these discussions. I am myself very anxious to deal satisfactorily with the question of Polish seamen.
Can these men take up employment in this country other than that of seamen?
That is really part of the discussion on seamen on which I am now engaged.