HC Deb 13 November 1902 vol 114 cc863-4
MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

To ask the Secretary of State for War what steps do the Government mean to take with regard to prisoners of war who were British subjects some time previous to the declaration of war in South Africa; whether some of the above, who are clerks in the commandants' offices, are to be allowed to go back to South Africa; are exceptions to be made, or will all such prisoners of war be permitted to return; do the Government intend to recognise as burghers all prisoners of war whose papers were signed before the declaration of war; and when do the Government propose releasing all prisoners of war, or taking steps to secure their discharge from custody.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Chamberlain.) Prisoners of war who were British subjects previous to the outbreak of the war are not in the position of burghers of the late Republics, and are therefore not entitled to be sent back to South Africa tinder the terms of surrender. His Majesty's Government cannot recognise any naturalisation on or after 29th September, 1899, on which date the Volksraad of the South African Republic passed a resolution referring to the war which, it was stated, threatened to break out between the Republic and Great Britain, and promising burghership to all who assisted the Republic. It is hoped that the return of all prisoners of war who came within the terms of surrender will be complete early next year.