Refugees in Post-War Britain

[This is Page Five, continued from Pages Four, Three, Two and One.]

The record of the refugees in Britain before and during the war clearly suggests that they have been an asset to this country in some of the most critical years in its history. Are there any reasons why they should be less valuable and less welcome after the war? Continue reading “Refugees in Post-War Britain”

What Have Been The Effects?

[This is Page Four, continued from Pages Three, Two and One.]

Quite apart from the quantitative aspect, have the refugees who wish to stay here proved an asset or a liability? On the basis of the evidence which will be discussed in these pages, there is only one conclusion it is possible to draw. By and large refugees have proved a valuable element in our society: they have made contributions to our national life in industry, in the universities, in the arts and in the world of science. During the war they have acquitted themselves well. Continue reading “What Have Been The Effects?”

How Many Will Be Left After The War?

[This is Page Three, continued from Page Two and One.]

We do not, of course, know precisely how many further arrivals there will be. But the Foreign Secretary, in his Report on the 1943 Bermuda Conference on refugee questions between the British and the United States governments, stated that Great Britain was continuing to admit about 800 non-British war refugees every month. These, like most of the war refugees, w ill, for the most part, stay in this country only to fight. “Nearly all are admitted because they are wanted for the Armed Forces or the Merchant Service of ourselves or our Allies. Nearly all of them are people who would be repatriated after the war.”[6] Continue reading “How Many Will Be Left After The War?”

How Many Were Admitted?

[This is Page Two, continued from Page One.]

Immigration into Britain was practically unrestricted during the whole of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century; at that time the average level of unemployment was low. But after the last war unemployment became more pronounced: this is the fundamental fact which coloured the whole of British official policy towards aliens in the last three decades. Continue reading “How Many Were Admitted?”

Summary / Are Refugees an Asset?

SUMMARY

  1. The object of the pamphlet is to answer the question, “Should the refugees who wish to stay in Britain after the war be allowed to do so?”
  2. The fear of aggravating British unemployment was at the root of the Government’s unwillingness to admit more refugees before the war. At its outbreak there were not more than 90,000 refugees in Britain; 73,000 of these were from Germany or Austria, and most of these were Jewish. Emigration and death has now reduced the number of Germans and Austrians to less than 50,000.
  3. About 75,000 Allied nationals have been admitted during the war. Relatively few of them wish to stay permanently in Britain.
  4. Only about 40,000 refugees will want to become permanent residents; about 80 per cent. of these are former German and Austrian nationals.
  5. Britain’s population is bound to fall. Emigration to the Dominions would enhance the decline. Encouraging refugees to remain would help in small measure to offset British emigration.
  6. During the war most refugees have found employment. They have contributed to the war effort.
  7. Refugees have developed new industries in Britain, In peace-time they created additional employment and assisted British exports.
  8. Refugee scholars and artists have enriched Britain’s cultural life. Refugee scientists have cooperated in the advance of war-time science.
  9. The record of the refugees before and during the war suggests, in short, that they have been an asset to Britain. The services they are able to render should be no less valuable after the war.
  10. If we in Britain want refugees to stay they should be granted equality of rights with British subjects. Those eligible for naturalisation should be granted citizenship.

Continue reading “Summary / Are Refugees an Asset?”

Are Refugees an Asset?

I’m republishing on this blog the text of an anonymous pamphlet that was published by PEP (Political and Economic Planning) in September 1944, during an earlier public debate about the fate of refugees and the United Kingdom. I’ve stuck this up on the web before, on older incarnations of this website, and now I’m going to stick it up again.

I’m reproducing the text unabridged from the original pamphlet across five blogposts (not including this one), following the major divisions in the text; the only significant change I’ve made is that I’ve placed the “Summary” at the start, rather than at the end of the pamphlet, to serve as an introduction to new readers.

  1. SUMMARY / ARE REFUGEES AN ASSET?
  2. HOW MANY WERE ADMITTED?
  3. HOW MANY WILL BE LEFT AFTER THE WAR?
  4. WHAT HAVE BEEN THE EFFECTS?
  5. REFUGEES IN POST-WAR BRITAIN