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Movement From Poland

Volume 436: debated on Wednesday 30 April 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the reason for refusing the entry of Germans recently from Poland to the British zone of Germany; and whether the Polish authorities have given any indication of the number of Germans they still wish to leave their western territories.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the Polish Government has given notice to deport a further 400,000 Germans from Polish territory; and what is His Majesty's Government's policy in regard to accepting any of these deportees in the British zone of Germany.

The organised movement into the British zone of Germany of Germans to be expelled under the Potsdam Agreement from the territories now administered by Poland was suspended by the Control Commission on 23rd December last because of the severe weather. The question of resuming the operation has been deferred, as it was proposed to review the whole question of population transfers during the Moscow conference. Unfortunately, no agreement was reached.

The Polish authorities, at the Council of Foreign Ministers' Deputies in January, indicated that 550,000 Germans still remain in their western territories whom they wish removed to the western zones. They have recently asked that the movement to the British zone should be resumed but no official figures have been given. Our commitment is to receive million of these Germans into the British zone. This figure has probably been reached already, and before we can agree to accept any more it is necessary to assess the total number already received either by transfer or by infiltration so that we can calculate what balance, if any. remains.

Has my right hon. Friend made it plain to the Polish Government that further expulsions from their zone into our zone will make economic conditions there more and more difficult?

Yes, Sir, but it is not only a question of numbers, but who should be expelled. If we are to have merely refugees and unemployable people, and no corresponding productive people, the situation will become very difficult.

Can my right hon. Friend say what proportion of those expelled have been men or employable women?