HC Deb 20 February 1941 vol 369 cc296-8
76. Mr. Harvey

asked the Secretary of State for foreign Affairs the present position of British subjects interned in occupied France; and whether satisfactory arrangements have been made for the supply of clothing and other necessaries to the internees?

The Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr Butler)

I am anxious to give the House full information on this subject. As my reply must consequently be rather long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

The hon. Member has no doubt seen the reply given on 22nd January to my hon. Friend the Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison). Since then my right hon. Friend has received official information that all British subjects, including those from the Bordeaux and Nantes districts, and those from Dinard and Dinan, who are interned in occupied France, are concentrated at three localities—St. Denis (Paris), Drancy (Paris) and Bcsançon (Doubs). The postal addresses of these three camps have been given publicity in the Press. There is, however, one small group of about 60 persons interned at Troyes, about whom I have made inquiries and am awaiting further information. Many of the British subjects who were interned have now been released. in general, they fall into the following categories: Children up to 16 years of age, mothers of children up to 16 years of age, women over 60 years of age, and ailing elderly men. There are now no restrictions as to where those who are released may live, with the exception of certain coastal areas. Consequently the majority of those persons released have returned to their former homes. I am expecting to receive in the very near future the names of those Who are at Besançon and Drancy, and of those who have been released from those two camps. The names of the internees at St. Denis, who number some 1,700, are known, and their relatives in this country and elsewhere in His Majesty's Dominions, whose whereabouts are known, have been informed by the Foreign Office. Arrangements have now been made to provide the internees in France with small sums of money to purchase necessaries, and the United States authorities have been authorised to incur expenditure on clothing and medical supplies.