HC Deb 22 September 1943 vol 392 cc253-4W
Mrs. Cazalet Keir

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware of the anxiety felt amongst British subjects who have proceeded to North America because of circumstances arising out of the war, as to the likelihood of their being able to return to the United Kingdom within a reasonable time after the cessation of hostilities: and whether he is considering means of transport for these people?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, Sir. I am aware that United Kingdom subjects now in North America are anxious lest there should be a long delay before they can return to this country after the war: and I am grateful to my hon. Friend for this opportunity of making a statement on the subject. His Majesty's Government have a specific obligation to provide for the return to the United Kingdom of children evacuated under the Children's Overseas Reception Board Scheme. That obligation they hope to fulfil within a short time after hostilities in Europe have ceased. They hope also to bring home all other United Kingdom subjects who desire to return, within a reasonably short time after the end of hostilities in Europe. I add that this must not be interpreted as a guarantee that passages can be provided within any given time limit for any or all who desire them. I also add that so long as the war in Europe continues, we must do everything in our power to relieve the strain on the Allied Navies and on our merchant seamen by only providing passages for those whose journeys are essential in the national interest.