§ 16. Commander BELLAIRS
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether a lieutenant in the German Army. Baron Werner von Ow-Wachendorf, aged twenty-nine years, has been released on exchange as a member of the Consular service; and, if so, where was he serving 1384 when war broke out; and, in view of the exchange of two German Consuls for two old British officers of eighty-eight and eighty-three years of age whose health had completely collapsed, whether he will make a complete statement on the Baron's release and the conditions, if any, attached thereto?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Baron von Ow-Wachendorf is a member of the German Consular Service and was attached to the German Consulate-General at Cape Town before the War. He was detained in England on his way back to Germany. His release was effected under an agreement with the German Government for the mutual exchange of British and German diplomatic and Consular officers. No conditions were attached to the above-mentioned agreement on either side, but I may mention that none of the German officials concerned were released without the previous concurrence of the War Office and Home Office. As regards the two British officers mentioned, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply returned on the 4th instant, and add that, although the numbers exchanged under the agreement were equal, the exchange was in no sense a man-for-man exchange.
§ Commander BELLAIRS
Has this gentleman been at liberty all this time—since 13th August, when he was arrested?
Sir H. DALZIEL
Can the Under-Secretary give the House any information as to arrangements for further exchanges?
I am glad to be able to inform the right hon. Gentleman that in deference to the express wish and desire of the Pope the German Government has agreed to release all invalid civilians by way of mutual exchange.
§ 46. Mr. McNEILL
asked the Prime Minister whether the Government have official knowledge of orders having been issued by German officers to their troops that British prisoners of war should be put to death; and, if so, whether the fact has been officially notified to neutral Governments?
§ Mr. R. McNEILL
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the report published by the Eye-Witness with the British Army to the effect that a Brigade Order has been found to this effect is incorrect?
§ 52. Lord C. BERESFORD
asked the Prime Minister what steps are being taken to alleviate the sufferings and hardships of British prisoners of war in Germany; whether he is aware that the British prisoners in five camps in Germany are not allowed the use of tobacco and are debarred other comforts; and whether the Government will take this question up themselves in order that these British prisoners may get tobacco and other comforts?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
In regard to the first part of the question, I would refer the Noble Lord to the answer returned to the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin on 24th February. His Majesty's Government having learnt on good authority that British prisoners of war in certain camps in Germany were not allowed the use of tobacco, made representations to the German Government through the United States Ambassador on 28th January.
§ 62. Sir HERBERT RAPHAEL
asked why letters posted to British prisoners of war interned in Germany are delayed for several days before being forwarded to their destination?
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Hobhouse)
Correspondence posted in the United Kingdom for British prisoners of war in Germany is dispatched from this country immediately on completion of the Censorship. I have no control over the subsequent treatment of such correspondence.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in a recent case a letter was delayed by the Censor for ten days?
§ 95. Mr. PETO
asked the Under-Secretary of State, for War whether, in view of the shortage of labour and the extensive road repairs, due to military user, that are required in Wiltshire and the adjoining counties, he will consider the advisability of employing prisoners of war on this work, thereby liberating a corresponding number of men for employment in agriculture?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Tennant)
This would be impracticable at present, as the prisoners could not be accommodated under canvas, and I am not sure than in any case the expense of special camps, with fencing, water supply, sanitation, together with the necessary arrangements for guards, would be justified.
§ 102. Sir H. RAPHAEL
asked why information concerning officers who are reported missing given in letters from prisoners of war interned in Germany is deleted by the Censor?
§ Mr. TENNANT
I should be glad if my hon. Friend would furnish me with particulars of any specific case. The deletion may have been made by the German Censors or by the British Censors, and in the latter case I should be prepared to make further inquiries.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware the deletion is made by the Censor in this country?