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Refugees And Displaced Persons

Volume 415: debated on Thursday 8 November 1945

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51.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will now state the number of displaced Germans, excluding those returning to their own homes, who have entered the British zone in Germany from the U.S., U.S.S.R. and French zone's, respectively, since 1st August, 1945; the average daily influx from each of these zones since 1st October, 1945; and what steps are being taken to put a stop to these large movements of refugees.

:The vast movement of population now taking place in Europe, of which the House will be aware, makes it impossible to obtain accurate information about the number of refugees entering the British zone. A high proportion of the movement takes place at night, rendering close control impracticable. It is estimated that about 380,000 Germans have crossed from the Russian to the British zone during the past three months, of whom 25 per cent. were refugees and the remainder returning evacuees. So far as is known, no refugees have entered the British zone from either the American or French zone, although a small influx of evacuees has taken place.

The daily average number of refugees arriving from the Russian zone since 1st October is approximately 2,000. The Combined Repatriation Executive, which is a quadripartite organisation operating in Berlin, co-ordinates, on behalf of the Allied control authority, agreed movements of refugees between the four zones of occupation. No movements are allowed without the approval of this organisation, but much unauthorised movement is still occurring. Local formation commanders consult with their opposite commanders to prevent unauthorised movement as much as possible.

Will the Chancellor say to what extent the Russians are co-operating in this vital problem?

The answer is given in the reply I have just read, that the matter is being dealt with by the Combined Repatriation Executive, which is a quadripartite organisation.

:Is the Chancellor aware that this influx, whether intentional or unintentional, will jeopardise the whole of our administration in the British zone this winter, and is he prepared to take action now to stop that happening?

:I am vividly aware of the fact that this situation complicates very seriously the administration of our work in the British zone. As I have indicated, all possible steps are being taken, with the manpower at our disposal and the plan we have in hand, for extending the control to supervise this movement of refugees, which in present circumstances it is not possible to control completely.

As the flow from these zones into the British zone is largely affected by the flow from further East into those zones, what steps are His Majesty's Government taking to make representations to the Governments concerned to stop forcible expulsions now?