HC Deb 05 March 1942 vol 378 cc806-7
The Financial Secretary to the War Office (Mr. Sandys)

With the permission of the House, I should like to make a short statement. In view of the anxiety that may have been raised in the minds of some relatives of prisoners about the effect of recent changes in the management of the Prisoners of War Department of the British Red Cross Society, my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal has consented upon the suggestion of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War to look into the matter personally and to advise my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State of his opinion upon it. This course has the full approval of the British Red Cross Society.

Miss Ward

In view of the statement which my hon. Friend has made, I wish to say that I shall not raise the matter on the Adjournment to-day. May I also say that I hope everyone will refrain from putting down Questions until the Lord Privy Seal has carried out his inquiries, and point out how unfortunate it was that owing to a matter of procedure I was not able to obtain an answer to a Private Notice Question? I think that the statement has the full support of all parties concerned. It has mine.

Mr. Graham White

Arising out of the original statement, may I ask whether the question of the organisation which deals with searching for the missing will also be included in the scope of the inquiry?

Mr. Sandys

Only questions arising out-of the changes in management to which I referred.

Mr. Mathers

In making his investigation, will the Lord Privy Seal consult with those who represent the interests of prisoners of war who have had experience of the previous administration and the work of Mr. Stanley Adams?

Mr. Sandys

I think that we must leave it to my right hon. and learned Friend to decide how he will make his inquiries.

Sir William Davison

Will my hon. Friend see to it that this inquiry is conducted with the utmost speed because of the great anxieties felt by relatives of prisoners of war?

Mr. Sandys

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Mathers

Will the Lord Privy Seal be willing to receive representations from those interested in this matter?

Mr. Sandys

I am sure my right hon. and learned Friend can be relied upon to see that he obtains all the information required to reach a conclusion.