§ 3. Mr. THEODORE TAYLOR
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will state what steps the Swiss Government has taken to put into operation the recent agreement as to the transfer of British prisoners from Germany to Switzerland and German prisoners from Great Britain to Switzerland?
§ Sir E. GREY
It is understood that the Swiss Government are taking all necessary steps to put the agreement referred to into operation. Arrangements are being made to intern the British prisoners of war at Chateau d'Oex. Four Swiss Medical Commissions, consisting of two medical officers each, are starting for this country on the 20th May to examine the German prisoners, and it is expected that the Swiss Medical Commission, which is to examine the British prisoners in Germany, will leave Berne on the same date.
I should like to take this opportunity of expressing publicly the gratitude of the country and of His Majesty's Government to the Swiss Government for the cordial and ungrudging assistance which they have given from the outset towards the establishment of this scheme.
§ Sir E. GREY
I would be glad if the hon. Member would give me notice. I imagine not, and that British prisoners will be at one place and German prisoners at another.
§ 4. Colonel YATE
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any confirmation of the death in captivity of Mr. Pettigrew, inspector in the Indo-Europeon Telegraph Department, one of the members of the Shiraz British community, held prisoner by German emissaries at Ahram, in Persia; whether Mr. Pettigrew's death was in any way accelerated by the harsh and unhealthy conditions in which the prisoners have been forced to live; and what arrangements will be made for an adequate compassionate allowance for the widow and five children dependent upon him?
§ Sir E. GREY
I regret to state that Mr. Pettigrew died at Ahram on 27th April from heart disease. I have as yet no information in regard to the suggestion con- 1634 tained in the second part of the question, and the arrangements referred to in the last part would seem to be for the consideration of the Secretary of State for India, to whom I have communicated my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion.
§ Colonel YATE
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any hope now of obtaining the release of those prisoners?
§ 7. Mr. TAYLOR
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will say what steps are being taken by the War Office to bring into operation at the earliest possible moment the agreement under which British prisoners are to be transferred from Germany to Switzerland and German prisoners from Great Britain to Switzerland?
§ Mr. TENNANT
In order that there may be no unavoidable delay an agreement has just been made with the German Government whereby the selection of those who are unquestionably included in the category of disabilities as justifying transport to Switzerland may be made by the medical authorities of the country where the prisoners are interned. The necessity for the majority of medical men on these selection boards being of Swiss nationality will be waived in this fresh selection. The necessary instructions have been issued.