HC Deb 28 November 1944 vol 404 cc2390-1
35. Mr. Riley

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is able to give any further information regarding the sinking of the Japanese transport convey- ing British and Australian prisoners of war; whether the names of the British personnel who perished are known; have the relatives of these men been informed; and is he aware of the resentment on the part of many who have sons or fathers prisoners of war in the Far East that the details of atrocities should have been broadcast in view of the uncertainty of of relatives involved.

Sir J. Grigg

I can assure my hon. Friend that I only made this statement after anxious consideration. I was fully aware, as I said in the statement, of the distress which it would cause to the relatives of prisoners of war in Japanese hands. But the United Kingdom prisoners rescued had reached this country, and, in these circumstances, the facts could not have been withheld. And apart from this, I would not have felt justified in keeping from this House or from the country, first-hand information which had reached us about the way in which the Japanese had treated our prisoners. Particulars of most of the personnel from the United Kingdom known to have been on the sunk Japanese transport have been obtained from statements made by the survivors. In all cases where it has been possible to establish identity, either from details supplied or by the interrogation of the survivors, the next-of-kin of the men concerned have been informed.

Mr. R. C. Morrison

In view of the fact that No. 4 Camp was said to be mostly involved in this unfortunate matter, is it possible to get from neutral sources any report of what has become of the prisoners from that camp who were known to be on the transport?

Sir J. Grigg

I would rather like to have notice of that question. I believe that the Japanese have recently indicated a willingness to widen the scope of inspection by the International Red Cross.