48. Mr. MacCALLUM SCOTT
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that of 242 men of the Cameron Highlanders who are prisoners of war in Germany only two had, up to 27th March, acknowledged receipt of bread from Copenhagen; whether he has satisfied himself that the arrangements for the supply of bread to prisoners from Copenhagen are satisfactory; who is in charge of the depot there, and what is its cost; and whether he has evidence that other prisoners are receiving their supplies of bread?
Mr. HOPE (Lord of the Treasury)
I am informed that the number of prisoners of the Cameron Highlanders at present on the records of the Central Prisoners of War Committee is 227. I am afraid it is not possible to state how many of these 1818 particular prisoners have acknowledged receipt of bread from Copenhagen up to-27th March, but the latest information shows that acknowledgments have been sent for 60 per cent. of all the bread sent. The acknowledgment cards are sent direct to Copenhagen, whence they are forwarded to London in parcels, according as shipping facilities permit. I understand that the arrangements for the supply of bread from Copenhagen are now satisfactory, except for the inevitable uncertainty as to the arrival of the flour and other necessary ingredients, owing to shipping difficulties. The Bureau at Copenhagen is supervised by a-Committee, with Lady Paget as president, and Mr. Marcus Slade as director, and its working cost up to 23rd March has been £21,261 16s. Id. I am informed that 73,502 loaves weighing 3¼lbs. were sent from Copenhagen to our prisoners-in Germany during the month of March.
In the case of a prisoner who has stated that he has received no parcels for three months, is the system such that proof can toe provided of the dispatch of parcels to the prisoners and of the dispatch of them from Copenhagen?
Yes, I understand that is-the intention of the Central Prisoners of War Committee. My hon. Friend knows that an inquiry is proceeding on all these points at the present moment.
In the case of particular prisoners who allege that they have received no parcels for periods like that, will proof of dispatch be submitted?
Will the Committee obtain proof of the dispatch of food and parcels in these individual cases?
It is perfectly free for them to ask for it and to supply it; but I do-not control their proceedings.
Will the Committee which is in charge of this matter and responsible for it, submit proof of dispatch?
I understand that they will. All that they can do is to guarantee that the parcels go. A hundred and one things-may happen to them afterwards.
§ Sir JOHN AINSWORTH
Having regard to the alarm and anxiety felt in this matter, could the hon. Gentleman in some way or other inform the House or the public how it stands?