HC Deb 20 December 1916 vol 88 cc1433-4
8. Major HUNT

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many officer prisoners were lately removed from Donington Hall en route for a neutral country; were there amongst them the captains of the "Emden" and the "Blucher," and a German officer who was on Zeppelin L 15 which was brought down in the Thames Estuary; can he say who in the Foreign Office is responsible for these exchanges; and what officers did we get in exchange for those released?

Mr. HOPE (Lord of the Treasury)

Twenty-one officers, among whom were the captain of the "Blucher" and an officer of L 15, but not the captain of the "Emden," were recently removed from Donington Hall for transfer to Switzerland. We have received the names of twenty officers who have reached Switzerland from Germany within the past few days, and I have just heard that others have arrived, but I do not yet know their names. The responsibility for these selec- tions in either country rests, under an agreement effected with the German Government, with a commission composed of Swiss and British or German medical officers, respectively.

Major HUNT

Were the German officers sent from this country unwounded, and were the officers sent from Germany unwounded too?


In neither case are these officers fit for service. In both cases they are examined by this medical commission, which reports them as being, by reason of their disability, suitable for internment in Switzerland.


Were the Admiralty and War Office consulted before this arrangement was made; and, further, were the prisoners returned by us of the same or greater value than the prisoners returned by Germany?


This arrangement was made a long time ago—before I was concerned with this question—and I cannot answer the first part; but the whole root idea of the arrangement is that they are prisoners who for the rest of the War will have no further fighting value.