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Algerian Refugees, Tunisia

Oral Answers to Questions — Four-Power Statement on Nuclear Test Explosions – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd July 1957.

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Photo of Mr Tony Benn Mr Tony Benn , Bristol South East 12:00 am, 3rd July 1957

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if Her Majesty's Government will offer to help for the relief of the Algerian refugees in Tunisia; and whether he will seek the co-operation of the appropriate United Nations agencies in this matter.

Photo of Mr Ian Harvey Mr Ian Harvey , Harrow East

Her Majesty's Government have noted with concern the increasing number of Algerian refugees in Tunisia. They understand that the French Government have offered help and assistance through the International Red Cross. The Red Cross have asked their representative in Tunisia to see what help that body can give; and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has sent a special representative to investigate the situation on the spot.

Until the results of these inquiries are known, no firm conclusions can be reached on the matter.

Photo of Mr Tony Benn Mr Tony Benn , Bristol South East

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that French troops in Tunisia have been attempting to drive the Algerian refugees back into Algeria, and that in firing on them they also fired on and wounded representatives of the Tunisian Government who went to protest about it? Is he aware that the whole situation on the Algerian-Tunisian border is in many ways as tragic as was the situation on the Hungarian-Austrian border—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."1—and will he please take up the matter seriously, as a representative of the Tunisian Government, Mr. Mongi Slim, who was a member of the United Nations Commission investigating the Hungarian situation, has now appealed to the United Nations to protect his own country?

Photo of Mr Ian Harvey Mr Ian Harvey , Harrow East

Her Majesty's Government are fully aware of the difficulties of the situation. I should like to say, with respect, that I do not think the hon. Gentleman's supplementary questions have helped it very much. We shall await the reports, and as soon as we receive them we shall consider how effectively we can help.