HC Deb 12 February 1917 vol 90 cc240-1

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it has yet been possible to arrange for any and what person to carry on the work hitherto so kindly and admirably performed by the American Ambassador in Germany of visiting and reporting on the conditions of British prisoners of war interned in German camps?

Mr. JAMES HOPE (Lord of the Treasury)

The Netherland Government have kindly consented to assume charge of British interests in Germany, and we have no doubt that, in due course, arrangments will be made for officials of the Netherland Legation at Berlin to visit the camps in Germany where British prisoners of war are interned and to report on the conditions which prevail.


Can my hon. Friend say if the arrangements made with the Dutch representatives as regards British prisoners of war will apply also to the British civilian prisoners?


Yes, I think so, certainly.


asked the Seeretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any visits have yet been paid by a representative of a neutral Power to the camps in Turkey where British prisoners of war are interned; whether any reports have been received as to the condition of such camps and the necessities of the prisoners there interned; if not, what steps are being taken to induce Turkey to allow the camps to be visited; and, in the event of the American Ambassador leaving Constantinople, who will be requested to try and obtain leave to visit the camps in question?


His Majesty's Government have repeatedly made the strongest possible representations to the Turkish Government with a view to obtaining permission for representatives of the United States Embassy to visit the camps where British prisoners of war are interned. Their efforts have until now been unsuccessful, but they are being and will be continued. In the meantime certain of the camps have been visited by delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross, whose report has not yet been received. The information which has reached His Majesty's Government from divers sources is to the effect that the conditions under which the officer prisoners of war are interned are tolerable, but that the situation of the prisoners of other ranks is, in general, deplorable. In regard to the last part of the question, I can only say at present that the matter is receiving attention.

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