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Volume 414: debated on Monday 15 October 1945

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Armaments Manufacture (Inspection)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is the policy of the United Nations that the territory of Japan will be subjected permanently to a system of inspection for the purpose of ensuring that the Japanese can never manufacture weapons of war.

Allied Control Commission


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will support the proposal made by the Soviet Government for the setting up of an allied control commission in Japan; and whether he will give an assurance that only a democratic Japanese Government which gives political freedom to all democratic parties, trades unions and co-operatives will be recognised by His Majesty's Government.

As regards the first part of the Question, my hon. Friend will have seen reports in the Press that a Far Eastern Commission is about to meet in Washington for the purpose of formulating and recommending policies for the control of Japan. I feel sure the House will agree that it is undesirable for His Majesty's Government to make a statement, in advance of the deliberations of that Commission, which might be construed as pre-judging any relevant issue. As regards the second part of the Question, I can only refer to the statement of policy contained in the Potsdam Declaration, to which His Majesty's Government have at present nothing to add.

Arising out of that, will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House if the Far Eastern Commission that was envisaged, is to be a purely advisory body or not?

China (British Representation)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he is taking to augment the present insufficient British representation, both official and unofficial, in Shanghai and other important re-occupied Chinese centers; and whether financial arrangements, adequate to ensure the maintenance of British organisations in liberated China, are being made.

A representative of His Majesty's Embassy has been for some lime in Shanghai where His Majesty's Consulate-General has now been reopened. A number of representatives of British firms have also arrived there. Arrangements are now being made for a further party of British business men to proceed to China, and it is hoped to reopen His Majesty's Consulates-General at Tientsin and other liberated cities at an early date. The answer to the second part of the Question is that the matter is under urgent consideration.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that 20 business men who are to be permitted to go to China will be insufficient in number to get export trade going between the two countries, and to safeguard British interests in that country?

The hon. Gentleman is doubtless aware that there are many complications, but I can assure him that the Government are most anxious about this subject.

Will the hon. Gentleman assure the House that no facilities are being given to American business men which are being denied to British business men?

Allied Forces (British Wives)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how soon he anticipates that British women who have married soldiers from the U.S.A. or elsewhere overseas will be afforded facilities for joining their husbands; and if, in view of the fact that such women cease to draw allowances when their husbands are demobilised, he will expedite their departure.

:As explained in reply to a Question put by the hon. Member for North Blackpool on 23rd August, the subject of British women married to United States soldiers is continuously occupying the attention of the competent American authorities with whom the responsibility rests and who are fully alive to the hardships involved. According to a statement issued by the American Embassy on 5th October the entire problem is now under study by the American Department of State at the request of the American Ambassador in London. It is understood that the United States officials assigned to this duty have now arrived in Great Britain to investigate.

Could my hon. Friend say, meanwhile, what action is being taken by the American authorities to assist cases such as those referred to in the second part of my Question, where there is some hardship?

As my hon. Friend knows, we have already made representations to the United States Government on this point, but I cannot, at this stage, give him any further information.

:Could we have an assurance that no preference will be given to these women until all British prisoners of war have been repatriated, and British wives of Canadian soldiers are sent out to their husbands in Canada?

Without taking sides on this subject at all, I want to say that it is, of course, primarily a matter for the United States Government.

Did not these women take on their husbands for better or for worse when they entered into the matrimonial state, and are there not many more important people and things claiming our attention?


asked the Minister of War Transport if he will take steps to provide transport to enable British women who have married American soldiers who are now demobilised to join their husbands in America.



the Minister of War Transport how many British wives of American and Canadian soldiers are desirous of joining their husbands in North America; what priority is granted to these women for passages; and how soon he estimates they will all have rejoined their husbands.

I understand that at the end of September there were some 32,000 wives of Canadian soldiers awaiting passage, and that this number is increasing at the rate of some 2,000 per month. There are about 42,000 wives of United States soldiers awaiting passage. Wives of Servicemen can be transported in appreciable numbers only at the expense of the movement of Servicemen, which includes ex-prisoners of war, Dominion, Colonial and United Kingdom troops being repatriated from overseas Commands for release, Python and leave and also the occupation forces. It has been decided that such movements of Servicemen must be undertaken first, and I regret to say, therefore, that it will be some considerable time before the wives of the Canadian Service personnel can be transported from this country to Canada. The American Authorities here accepted responsibility for dealing with the problem of transport for wives of American soldiers, and I understand that a mission is on its way from America to consider ways and means.

Did I understand the Minister to say that Canadian wives are increasing at the rate of 2,000 a month? Can he say how many Canadian troops there are left here?

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that there is a great likelihood that a large number of these wives will be deserted if they are not returned to their husbands? Does he not also realise that it would be an appreciable contribution to the housing problem in this country if 85,000 of these women concerned were given facilities for going to America?

I am sure we all desire husbands and wives to be joined together as quickly as possible, but I do feel that this matter must be kept in its proper perspective. The vast majority of the wives of British soldiers have been separated from their husbands for a far longer period. We naturally desire to give all the facilities we can, but we must carry out our own programme and get our own men back to this country.

Berlin Agreement (Publication)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will consider publishing the text of the Berlin Agreement as a White Paper.

I take it my hon. Friend has in mind the Berlin Agreement establishing the Council of Foreign Ministers. The full text of this agreement was included in the report on the work of the Berlin Conference which was published on 2nd August.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is some discrepancy between the text of this agreement as published in the newspapers and the extracts from it as quoted by statesmen, and is it not desirable that hon. Members should have the official text?

I am unaware of any discrepancy between the quotations made by the Press and statements by Ministers of His Majesty's Government, but my right hon. Friend will gladly consider whether, for the convenience of Members of the House, this should be published as a Command Paper.

Internees, Middle East (Repatriation)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that the Pan-Hellenic Union of Families of Detainees in the Middle East on 9th August requested permission to use caiques of the union at their own expense for repatriating the detainees; and why the offer was not accepted.

This offer was brought to the attention of the British authorities in Cairo in September. It was then decided that owing to the bad weather conditions at this time of year the suggestion was impracticable. If caiques had been used there would almost certainly have been casualties for which the British authorities would have been held responsible. The Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean has, however, lent a number of landing craft for the repatriation of internees and this should provide a much more practical and satisfactory system than the use of caiques.

Armed Forces (South American Volunteers)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware of the number of volunteers from South America with dual nationality serving in the Armed Forces of the Crown; and what steps he has taken to secure their release from all obligations to serve in the armed forces of their South American country on their return.

Although the precise total of volunteers is not known, His Majesty's Government have exchanged notes with the Brazilian Government under the terms of which Brazilian citizens, who have effectively served in the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, will be entitled in Brazil to certificates of compliance with military service. A similar agreement is under discussion with the Chilean Government. The Argentine Government have issued a decree whereby Argentine citizens who have served, or are serving, in the armed forces of countries which have been at war with the Axis for a period of not less than one year, are given approximately similar exemptions.

Is it not possible to reach a definite agreement in other South American countries that these men will not be called upon to serve again; and will the hon. Gentleman try to make sure that if they have to serve they will at least go back to almost similar ranks to those which they held in the British Forces—that officers shall not have to start in the ranks again?

Jews (Admission To United States)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he has any information regarding the quota of Jews from enemy countries permitted by the U.S. Government to emigrate to America.

Will the Minister consider approaching the United States with regard to obtaining some information on this subject?

Can the Minister say whether it is the case that the only country in which people are not allowed to enter just because they are Jews, is the Jewish National Home?

Is it not a fact that immigration into the United States is, quite properly, based on nationality and not on religion?

I think that is a question which should be addressed to the United States.