HC Deb 26 February 1920 vol 125 cc1897-8

asked the Prime Minister (1) if he can state how many Germans accused of cruelty to British prisoners are to be tried in Germany; when the trial is to take place; whether the British Government will be represented at the trial or what steps will be taken to provide the Government with accurate information as to whether or no the trial is fairly conducted: whether English soldiers are to give evidence at the trial and at whose expense; (2) whether, according to the Peace Treaty, Germans accused of cruelty to British prisoners of war should have been delivered, within one month of the treaty being ratified, to the British for trial in England; if he can state whether any such persons have yet been delivered; and, if not, what steps have been taken to enforce the observance of the Treaty?


The obligation to which the hon. Member refers is to be found in Articles 228 and 229 of the Treaty of Versailles. The trial of the accused persons by a properly constituted tribunal is, as the House is aware, the subject of correspondence between the Allied Governments and the German Government, and an Inter-Allied Commission has been entrusted with the duty of collecting, publishing and communicating to the German Government the details of the charges preferred. Details have not yet been arranged, but the necessary steps will be taken to secure that the Allied Governments have full information in regard to the trials, and that the evidence against the accused is properly presented.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that between 30,000 and 40,000 returned British prisoners have been asked about the cruelty to which they have been subjected, and that there is a real desire in the country that the pledge which probably every Member of this House gave, namely, that these men should be tried in England according to English justice, should be carried out?


Will he inform the House when and where, and how the British profiteer, who is guilty of con-scions cruelty to—


That does not arise on this question.