25. Captain P. MAC DONALD
asked the Secretary of State for War if he is now able to state the result of his inquiries regarding the violation of war graves in France and Belgium?
§ 24. Mr. ISAACS
asked the Secretary of State for War if he has now completed his inquiry into the question of the violation of British war graves; and, if so, can he give the House any information on the subject?
§ Mr. SHAW
As a result of the special inquiry which has been and is still being carried out, no support has been discovered for the allegations that were made. Those allegations would involve the disinterment of bodies at night-time, the opening and restoring of carefully turfed graves, and the embarkation and smuggling of the bodies from the Belgian coast into this country. Frankly, it seems incredible that a carefully tended grave could be opened up and restored again under cover of darkness so skilfully as 213 to avoid detection. The investigation shows that it almost inconceivable that the alleged proceedings could escape notice at any stage. I think it safe to say that the story may be dismissed and its publication is all the more discreditable in view of the pain that it could not fail to revive in so many thousands of cases.
Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to give wide publicity to this statement?
§ Mr. SHAW
I do not want to take any further steps than I have done. Either this paper published this statement in good faith or as a piece of sensationalism. If it published it in good faith, I think it did not take into account the difficulties that would arise in carrying out what was alleged had been carried out. If it was published for purposes of sensationalism, I am not prepared to go any further in making the sensation more public.