HC Deb 23 June 1942 vol 380 cc1799-800
21. Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

asked the Secretary of State for War at what rate of exchange the enemy Powers make advances of pay to officer prisoners in Germany and Italy?

Sir J. Grigg

Officer prisoners of war in Germany and Italy receive the pay of corresponding ranks in the German and Italian armies. Since payment is made in German and Italian currency, the question of the rate of exchange does not arise.

Sir A. Knox

Surely the War Office ought to interest itself in this matter, as considerable reductions are made from officers' pay in this country, and surely it is essential to know what equivalent in Reichmarks and lire a prisoner of war gets in these circumstances?

Sir J. Grigg

I am sorry, but I misunderstood the hon. and gallant Member. He means, I understand, at what rate are charges in this country in respect of pay advanced by the enemy calculated for officers? It is 15 Reichmarks or 72 lire to the pound.

Mr. Bellenger

Is not that below the real exchange value? Should not it be somewhere nearer 20 Reichmarks? Is the Department not taking advantage of officer prisoners in debiting the amounts they receive in lire and Reichmarks to their accounts here at that rate?

Sir J. Grigg

No, Sir. A ration allowance is issued in this country, and that has recently been increased with retrospective effect and is credited in this country.

67. Sir A. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will furnish the Library of the House of Commons with copies of the reports drawn up by the Protecting Power on visits to prisoner-of-war camps in Germany and Italy?

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Richard Law)

I regret that this is impossible, since the reports of the Protecting Power on camp inspections are regarded by them as confidential documents.

Sir A. Knox

Is the hon. Member aware that in the June number of a new periodical issued by the British Red Cross, long extracts from these reports appear? If he can trust the British Red Cross, why cannot this House be trusted?

Mr. Law

I was not aware of that; I will look into it.

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