HC Deb 17 February 1943 vol 386 cc1708-9
9. Captain Gammans

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is able to make any statement on the treatment by the Japanese of civilian internees in Malaya and Hong Kong; and whether efforts are being made to secure the release or exchange of women and children and men unfit for military service?

Mr. Eden

I regret that there is no trustworthy information about civilian internees in Malaya, as the Japanese Government have repeatedly refused to allow either a representative of the Power Protecting British interests in the Japanese Empire or a delegate of the International Red Cross Committee to visit Singapore or any part of Malaya. As regard the treatment of civilian internees in Hong Kong, the International Red Cross Committee's dele- gate in that place reported on 25th January last that he is making regular visits to the Stanley internment camp; that the health of internees in general is good; that of the children very good; that living accommodation, though somewhat crowded, is modern; that religious services are held; that a library and recreational facilities are available; and that conditions in general show steady improvement.

In regard to the second part of the Question, the Protecting Power has already, at the request of His Majesty's Government, made approaches to the Japanese Government for further exchanges and repatriations, particularly of women and children. No replies have yet been received to these inquiries. In this connection His Majesty's Government have noted with interest the statement which the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs is reported to have made in Tokyo expressing the desire of his Government to negotiate further exchanges.

Captain Gammans

Could my right hon. Friend tell the House whether there is any information about the food situation in Malaya?

Mr. Eden

No, Sir, I am afraid I cannot. As I said, the Malaya position is unsatisfactory, because the Japanese Government have not been willing to allow the Protecting Power to function as a Protecting Power should be allowed to function.

Mr. Woods

Has the right hon. Gentleman received yet a complete list of the names of people interned?

Mr. Eden

These are civilian internees. I am not certain whether the list is complete; I think not.