LONDON (Nov. 21)
The House of Commons tonight adopted by a show of hands a motion presented by the Labor opposition and approved by the Government condemning persecution of racial and political minorities and calling for immediate international action to deal with the refugee problem.
Sir Samuel Hoare, in his speech accepting the motion for the Government, said:
“I speak as a strong believer in the possibility of Anglo-German understanding and as a staunch supporter of Munich. It is because I am so anxious to see a complete and permanent settlement of the questions which divide our two countries that I frankly and unhesitatingly state my views. I am opposed to interference in the affairs of other powers, but the measures against the Jews in Germany and the way in which they have been raised force them on the attention of other countries.
“How can the question remain exclusively domestic when it involves scores of thousands of men, women and children, destitute and penniless, seeking admission to other countries?” (The House cheered at this point.) However deep may be our sympathies, this problem is, and must remain, an international problem. No single country can hope to solve it.
“Whilst we are perfectly prepared to take our full share in any attempt to solve or mitigate it, we must state categorically that it is a problem for all the 32 countries who are at present members of the Evian International Committee. Believing it to be an international problem, His Majesty’s Government are grateful to the President of the United States for the personal interest that he has consistently taken in it and for the summons he made some months ago to the Governments of the world to take part in the Evian conference. The House will remember that a very distinguished citizen of the United States, Myron Taylor, at the invitation of the President came to Evian and presided over the conference.”
Sir Samuel recalled that Lord Winterton was appointed chairman of the committee, with George Rublee as director of organization, and added that these two men had since been making active inquiries among the states represented to see how the problem could be dealt with, what governments were prepared to take refugees, and to what extent.
“I can tell the House,” he continued, “that although no definite action has yet resulted from these inquiries, they have proved useful, and I hope now that further steps will be taken in the immediate future when the committee meets in 10 days’ time. Myron Taylor, who is at the moment leaving the United States, will be present. The American representative will be able to consult with Winterton and other representatives as to what steps should be immediately taken. I hope that in the near future we shall be informed of the decisions that will be taken after their meeting in London.
“I do not take the view that this problem is insoluble but I do take the view that it is not soluble unless there is an international effort by all the Governments concerned to cooperate actively with an effective organization to deal with a very complicated problem.” Of the part the United Kingdom and the Empire ought to play in the cooperative effort, Hoare said:
“We are prepared to play our full part with other nations. We accept the responsibility that arises from the fact that we possess a great part of the surface of the world and that owing to our wealth and other resources we can play an important part in any attempt to deal with this tragic problem.
“This afternoon the Prime Minister purposely said nothing about the dominions, because they are members of the Evian conference. They must speak for themselves and it is not for us in this House to speak for them. Their representatives will be in London at the deliberations and they will have to consider what help their Governments can give. I think that each dominion Government is giving very urgent attention to this question and that a substantial number of refugees have already been admitted into one or another of the dominions territories.”
Hoare referred to the words of caution uttered by Prime Minister Chamberlain as to the difficulties to be surmounted if settlement on a large scale was to succeed.
“It sounds very easy when one points to the immense territories possessed by the British Empire,” he said, “but the greater part of these territories can only be settled after a careful survey and with cautious preparation. It may well be that with the best will in the world some time must elapse before a substantial number of refugees can be satisfactorily settled in the colonies and dependencies. His Majesty’s Government are taking active steps to expedite a survey.”
Sir Samuel Hoare revealed that he had informed a Jewish delegation headed by Lord Samuel this morning that the Government was prepared to give facilities for admission of German Jewish children into England under guarantee on refugee organizations. He said the government was considering the question of admitting large categories of trans-migrant men, women and children. He warned that under the surface there existed the making of a definite anti-Jewish movement.