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Polish Forces (Repatriation)

Volume 441: debated on Tuesday 29 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for War the number of Poles now in the Polish land forces in this country who have refused either to be repatriated to Poland or to join the Polish Resettlement Corps; and how many of this category have been sent to the Continent.

As those figures seem to be about the same as we were given a month or so ago, can the right hon. Gentleman say what further progress he expects to make, and how much longer the public exchequer will have to pay these people, who neither work nor seem to want to work?

I am very optimistic about being able to persuade recalcitrant Poles either to go back to Poland or to join the Polish Resettlement Corps. If the hon. Gentleman will put another Question in a month's time, perhaps he will get some better figures.

In another month's time we shall be in Recess. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman take a decision about these people, so that we may be certain that the public Exchequer will not have to maintain them? These people should be given no better rights than those who will not work, and who have to go into public institutions. If they were offered the same rights as British civilians, they might change their attitude.

I do not want these Poles on my hands longer than is necessary. If the hon. Member will refer to an answer given by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary recently, he will see that it is necessary to make deportation orders if these Poles will not join the Resettlement Corps or go back to Poland. We are dealing with these cases.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that none of them will be forcibly sent back, and can he tell us how many have refused to accept work?

I cannot give an assurance of that kind, but these Poles cannot remain on British benevolence indefinitely.


asked the Secretary of State for War how many Poles are stationed outside the United Kingdom; how many of these desire to be repatriated to Poland; how many have entered the Polish Resettlement Corps and how many refuse to do either; and when does he expect that all these Poles will be returned to this country or repatriated.

Approximately 13,500 Poles are stationed outside the United Kingdom. Some 2,000 of these are awaiting repatriation. None have joined the Polish Resettlement Corps, as it is possible to do this only in the United Kingdom. About 500 have stated that they will neither join the Polish Resettlement Corps nor return to Poland, but it is not yet clear how many of the balance will be willing to join the Polish Resettlement Corps, as in many cases they have not yet been asked. I hope that all members of the Polish Forces at present stationed abroad will have been either repatriated to Poland, resettled abroad, or brought to this country by the end of this year.

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to tell the House that there are about 10,000 more, in addition to the 5,000 in this country, who will neither work nor go back to Poland; and that we now have a total of 15,000?

If the hon. Member will read my answer, he will see that he has misconstrued what I said. The figures are nothing like what he has suggested.