HC Deb 16 February 1944 vol 397 cc154-5
2. Mr. Hammersley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the reason for the hold-up of the exchange of 1,600 civilian internees from the Far East and the British Commonwealth, respectively; what steps have been taken to overcome these difficulties; and what is the outcome of the negotiations which have been proceeding since May, 1943.

Mr. Eden

It would not be in the interest either of the interned civilians whom we hope to repatriate or of our prisoners of war if we were to discuss in public these negotiations with an enemy Government and I hope that my hon. Friend will not press the matter.

Mr. Hammersley

Could my right hon. Friend assure the House that as far as the British Government are concerned, any obstacles which it is within their power to remove, will be removed, and that so far as other Governments are concerned, they are doing the best they possibly can to deal, with the situation?

Mr. Eden

As my hon. Friend knows, we are very anxious to reach agreement on this matter as we did in the earlier stage, but of course we are dealing with an enemy Government, for whom, fortunately, I have not to answer.