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Anglo-Burmans (British Citizenship)

Volume 465: debated on Monday 23 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware of the dissatisfaction among Burma-born British subjects who are unable to obtain British passports because of the lack of documentary proof of their status; and if, in view of the fact that many official documents were lost during the Japanese occupation and of the inadequacy of the system of registration of births in Burma in the past, he will modify the present regulations.

So far as the difficulties to which the hon. Member alludes arise from the destruction of records in Burma, I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member for Farnham (Mr. Godfrey Nicholson) on 8th November last. My right hon. Friend is, however, looking into the whole matter.

Can the hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that a very much more sensible and lenient interpretation will be given to the status of British subjects than has been given in the past? Is it not ridiculous that we should be allowing foreigners to obtain British nationality in this country and at the same time preventing or hindering British nationals from retaining their nationality when they come from Burma?

No, I cannot indicate a change of policy, but I am looking into the matter.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the answer he gave me was some months ago and that this matter should not be allowed to drift on? Can he give some urgent consideration to it?