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International Relief Organisation

Volume 436: debated on Wednesday 30 April 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether I.R.O. will be ready to take over its responsibilities in June when the work of U.N.R.R.A. closes down.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 28th April to my hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. T. Reid) to which I have nothing to add.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether it is true that the International Relief Organisation cannot come into operation until 15 nations have ratified it, and that, so far, only two have ratified it? Can he also say whether it is true that it cannot come into operation until 75 per cent. of its budget is guaranteed, and that, so far, none of its budget has been guaranteed?

I am sorry that my hon. Friend is a little inaccurate, because he is usually most accurate. My recollection is that the number of countries is 12, not 15, but the facts as he stated them are essentially correct.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what prospect he holds out from a meeting which, I believe, is to be held next Friday?

Perhaps we had better let the meeting take care of itself. The attitude of H.M. Government is well known, and we have taken every appropriate course to try to ensure that this organisation will have a legal standing.

In view of the fact that the I.R.O. is not ready to take over, can my right hon. Friend say what provisions will be made for displaced persons and refugees in the interim?

My hon. Friend may be assured that this worry is not one of which the Government have been unaware, and that months ago we made alternative arrangements which, however, I hope we shall not have to call upon.