HC Deb 11 August 1919 vol 119 cc873-4
48. Lieut.- Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Prime Minister what steps are being taken to repatriate the German prisoners of war in this country now that the German Government has ratified the Peace Treaty; and whether he is aware that numbers of these men are still employed on the land in this country, thereby keeping British subjects out of employment?


These prisoners will be repatriated as speedily as possible after the ratification of the Peace Treaty, but this is a matter which, under the Peace Treaty, must be dealt with jointly with our Allies. As regards the last part of the question, I have no knowledge of any case where a British subject is being kept out of employment by a German prisoner. I am informed that the need for men on the land is very great, and if any man wanting work on a farm will communicate with the Board of Agriculture. that Department will take immediate steps to find him employment.

Lieut.- Commander KENWORTHY

What is meant exactly by "ratifying" the Peace Treaty? I understand that this country and Germany have ratified it. Are we to wait until the whole of the twenty-three Allies have ratified it before thesis men can go back?


That has been explained more than once. It becomes ratified as soon as it receives the ratification of three Powers.


In the event of a British labourer applying for work on a farm where Germans are at present employed, will the German prisoners be dismissed to give him an opportunity of finding work?


That difficulty does not arise, because, I am informed, there is more work for agricultural labourers than there are labourers to do it.

Colonel YATE

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the farmers say that if the German prisoners are removed they do not know what they will do?