Refugees.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 6th April 1939.

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Photo of Sir Arthur Salter Sir Arthur Salter , Oxford University

The right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) has really got an impression of the character of the Macedonian scheme which is completely at variance with the facts. I know something of the position, as I was the principal officer at the League of Nations dealing with this scheme. The main facts were that 1,200,000 refugees had to be dealt with, of which a great number coming from Smyrna were not agriculturists and were settled in towns. In Macedonia alone 500,000 people were settled, and while it is true that the refugees themselves did not pay the full interest on the loan, the Greek Government, until the financial crisis paid the rest in full, and it was recouped from the refugees as taxpayers and from the general increase in prosperity resulting from their production. The settlement of refugees in Macedonia and Greece was an enormous economic asset to the country. It was a most encouraging experiment for large-scale schemes being taken in hand by Government authority.