HC Deb 02 August 1944 vol 402 cc1358-9
7. Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been called to the action of the captain of a Swedish ship who, while in neutral waters, deliberately handed over escaped British prisoners of war to the Germans; and what action has been taken in the matter.

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir. It is contrary to all the well-established rules and customs of international law for a prisoner of war who has made good his escape from captivity to be handed back to the enemy. The action of this Captain Malmstedt was therefore definitely unneutral and anti-British. On his own admission he took this improper and dastardly action through fear of the consequences to himself from the Germans if he acted in accordance with his duty as a neutral. I am happy to see that a Swedish newspaper has expressed the strongest disapproval of Captain Malmstedt's action and of his motive, and has declared that he has done irreparable damage to his country, his company and himself. Captain Malmstedt is being placed forthwith upon the Statutory black list. The implications of this will, I hope, not be lost upon the owners of his ship, the Halland Shipping Company.

Sir J. Lucas

What exactly is the black list? Could not my right hon. Friend arrange for this man to be barred for life from entering a British port?

Mr. Eden

The effect of placing him on the black list is to make it illegal for any British subject to have dealings with him. Also he receives no British facilities of any kind in any port or anywhere else.

Mr. J. J. Lawson

Has the attention of the Swedish Government been drawn to the matter and, if so, what to they say about it?

Mr. Eden

It is not a matter for the Swedish Government. I have no reason to think that they approve of the action. It is a matter of the individual officer.