§ 12. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper
asked the Secretary of State for War what is the latest figure of Polish forces still in uniform and on service pay who have so far refused the offer to go into either the mines or agriculture, or to the Polish Resettlement Corps; what is the target date that has been decided upon for the demobilisation of all Polish forces in this country who will be absorbed into civil life here and the remainder returned to the Continent; and what is the monthly figure at the present time of pay to these Polish forces.
§ The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Bellenger)
There are about 5,000 Poles still 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 who are consequently not entitled to take up civilian 1116 jobs. No decision has yet been taken as to what shall be done ultimately with these men. The present monthly cost of pay and allowances for members of the Polish Land Forces in this country who are not in the Resettlement Corps is approximately £270,000 including those awaiting repatriation.
§ Mr. Cooper
Does not my right hon. Friend agree that a date should now be fixed when these men should relieve the British taxpayers of expense and take up some useful employment?
§ Mr. Bellenger
Yes, Sir. We are doing our best to induce these men either to go back to Poland or to join the Polish Resettlement Corps.
May I ask the Minister, in view of the fact that many of these men would make excellent workmen, whether they could be taught English, because I think that would facilitate their employment?
§ Mr. H. Hynd
Will my right hon. Friend say whether all these men have yet been disarmed, and will he also say whether they are still enjoying rations on the same scale as British combatant troops?
§ Mr. Bellenger
Yes, Sir, they have been disarmed. I should like to have notice of the other part of the supplementary question.
§ Brigadier Peto
Has the Minister considered, amongst other alternatives, the possibility and advisability of sending a contingent of these Polish ex-soldiers to relieve some of the British troops at present engaged in police duties in Palestine?
§ Mr. Driberg
If they have been disarmed, could my right hon. Friend say where they got the arms from for the armed guard of honour at that State funeral the other day?
§ Squadron-Leader Fleming
Could my right hon. Friend say how many of these Poles have actually undertaken work in the mines or in agriculture?