HC Deb 13 October 1942 vol 383 cc1468-70
9. Miss Ward

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the continued complaints of lack of delivery of food and clothing parcels to prisoners of war in Italy, he can give any information?

Sir J. Grigg

I am informed that supplies are in general reaching the established camps regularly. If the hon. Member will let me have particulars of the complaints to which she refers, I will look into the cases.

11. Miss Ward

asked the Secretary of State for War whether in order to allay the anxiety of relatives regarding the fate of Army personnel in the Far East, servicemen who have returned to this country have been asked to furnish any detailed information they possess?

Sir J. Grigg

Yes, Sir; and as opportunities for collecting such information were more likely to arise in India and Australia, the authorities in those countries have been asked to collect it also.

Miss Ward

As there seems to be very little information in this country on the point, have those who have arrived home been asked to supply information? Will my right hon. Friend say how full the inquiry has been into this matter?

Sir J. Grigg

The personnel who have arrived home are, I understand, almost entirely civilians.

13. Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the Secretary of State for War on what grounds and on what subject Dr. Joad was allowed to address prisoners of war; and what visits by other than Red Cross representatives or those of a Protecting Power are permitted under the Hague Convention?

Sir J. Grigg

My hon. and gallant Friend appears to have been misinformed. No permit has been issued to Dr. Joad to visit or address prisoners of war. Article 2 of the Hague Convention lays down that prisoners of war must be protected from public curiosity. There is no other clause in the Convention limiting the right of visiting camps to representatives of the Protecting Power, and of societies for the relief of prisoners of war such as Red Cross Societies.

Sir J. Lucas

Is my right hon. Friend aware that reporters, the town clerk and the chairman of the meeting say that Dr. Joad emphatically stated that he had himself visited the camp, and can my right hon. Friend find out the truth?

Sir J. Grigg

Yes, Sir, I am very well aware of that, but I am not Dr. Joad's keeper.

14 and 15. Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether he will ascertain through the Protecting Power whether the German authorities are holding back letters to and from prisoners in Oflag IX A.H. in reprisal for an attempted escape, as such action would be contrary to the Geneva Convention;

(2) whether he will make inquiries into the non-receipt of letters and parcels at Stalag VIII B, where it is thought that these are being held up by the German authorities in reprisal for alleged hold-up by the British authorities of the correspondence of German prisoners; and whether he will make representations through the Protecting Power?

Sir J. Grigg

The German Government have recently informed the Protecting Power that restrictions imposed on the mail of British prisoners of war have been abolished.

Sir A. Knox

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this concerns not only those two camps but that since this Question was put down I have had letters from about a dozen relatives of prisoners of war in other camps, and apparently this state of affairs has been very general throughout Germany?

Sir J. Grigg

My information was not that it is general, but does confirm what the hon. and gallant Member says that these restrictions did extend beyond these two camps, and the Protecting Power is looking into the matter.

Sir A. Knox

Do I understand that beyond these there are no more restrictions on mails in Germany?

Sir J. Grigg

I should like to confine myself to the answer that I gave, which was that the German Government have recently informed the Protecting Power that the restrictions imposed on the mails have been abolished.

Captain Godfrey Nicholson

Can the right hon. Gentleman say from what date the restrictions' were relaxed and when relations here may expect letters?

Sir J. Grigg

No, I cannot say that without notice, but I will look into the matter and let my hon. and gallant Friend know.

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