HC Deb 20 February 1917 vol 90 cc1144-5
7. Colonel BURN

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he can now state, as the result of his inquiry, the scale of food issued to German prisoners and others who are interned in this country?

41. Mr. G. FABER

asked the hon. Member for Sheffield (Central Division) whether the 10½ lbs. of bread, 3½ lbs. of meat, and 14 ozs. of sugar provided weekly for prisoners of war, other than officers, in this country, are also enjoyed by the 30,000 interned male enemy aliens, and why, when the Food Controller published his dietary list for voluntary adoption by the people of this country of 4 lbs. of bread, 2½ lbs. of meat, and 12 ozs. of sugar per week, the rations of prisoners of war and interned enemy aliens were not contemporaneously reduced teat least those limits; why, if it was necessary to refer the matter to a Committee for a Report that Report was not obtained before the Food Controller issued his dietary list; and when the Report will be made, and whether it will be published?

Mr. JAMES HOPE (Lord of the Treasury)

The rations of interned enemy aliens in this country are at present the same as those of prisoners of war other than officers. The new scale which, as I said yesterday, will be published immediately as an Army Council Instruction, applies equally to both classes. Steps were taken to revise the old scale as soon as the Food Controller's circular appeared, but it was not possible to fix the new scale without elaborate calculation and some discussion between the Departments concerned.

Colonel BURN

Is it not the case that German officers are allowed to purchase what extra food they like, and that the same privilege is not accorded to our prisoners in Germany?


That, I think, is covered by Question No. 40, which I propose to answer when it is reached.


Is it not a matter of ordinary common, sense to allow German prisoners to have no more food than our own folk?


It is not quite so simple as that. When the rations of bread, meat and sugar were reduced it was necessary to have something to take their place, and that the medical officers of the War Office and the Home Office should advise as to what exactly should take their place. That involved rather elaborate inquiries as to what supplies were available, the prices, and as to the amount of calories, which is the technical term, necessary to keep men efficient for working purposes.


The people of this country have not waited for a report, but have been put upon their honour as to rations.


The people of this country can buy freely all the other substances in the open market and the interned prisoners could not.


Would there not be a danger of German retaliation?


The rations are so low in Germany that I do not think there is any scope for that.

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