HC Deb 26 April 1944 vol 399 cc741-2
1. Sir Geoffrey Shakespeare

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what improved arrangements have been made for giving information to relatives about prisoners of war, particularly those in the Far East.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

His Majesty's Government have examined this question very carefully. While they are satisfied that it would not conduce to speedy or efficient dealing with inquiries from relatives if the various Government Departments concerned ceased to deal with matters for which they are responsible, they are impressed with the need for a special Inquiry centre which would be able to deal with all inquiries from relatives of prisoners of war in the Far East who were uncertain which Department to approach. Steps are accordingly being taken to set up such a centre, and an announcement on the subject will be made at a very early date.

Sir G. Shakespeare

Will my right hon. Friend give us an assurance that the head of this new inquiry centre will be given sufficient status to secure immediately, from any Government Department, the necessary information in relation to anything?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir, I think I can certainly do that, because the object of this proposal is to make matters smoother and easier, and it is necessary to provide him with sufficient authority.

Miss Ward

Will the Foreign Office be responsible for this information department?

Mr. Eden

I do not know. I had not thought about responsibility. I have a few responsibilities. I will consider it.

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