HC Deb 20 May 1919 vol 116 cc184-5
19 and 20. Mr. EVELYN CECIL

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether he is now in a position to say what control, if any, has been taken over German civilian post offices in the territory under British military occupation in respect of letters destined for the occupied territory itself, Germany, and other enemy countries, Great Britain or countries allied with her, and neutral countries; (2) whether a decision has now been arrived at as to establishing a British administration of German post offices in the occupied territory under which postage stamps would be surcharged G.R.I., postal salaries would be paid by the British Government, and profits would be received by the British Government as contributory to the German indemnity?

Captain GUEST

I understand that the extent of the control established in the occupied territory is such as to enable the various censorship regulations to be efficiently carried out. No British personnel has actually been introduced into any part of the Administration, but the Oberpost-director of the Postal Province of Cologne acts under the orders of the Military Governor's staff. British Army Mails are carried by the British Field Post Office. All other mails originating in, addressed to, or passing in transit through the occupied territories, are carried by the German Post Office, which defrays the cost of the service, and arranges routes, means of transport, etc., subject to the general requirements of the British Military authorities.

It is not proposed to establish a British Administration of German Post Offices in the occupied territories. Such a proceeding, besides introducing a policy at variance with that obtaining in other occupied areas, and laid down by the authority of Marshal Foch, would involve a complete change in the present administration, and as such is inadmissible, under the Armistice conditions of the 11th November, 1918. As the expenditure in the Cologne Postal Province considerably exceeds the receipts, the question of the disposal of profits does not arise.