HC Deb 11 December 1945 vol 417 cc216-7
52. Mr. Pickthorn

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the result of the discussions by the Allied Military Commission in Berlin of the Russian proposal for inter-Allied inspection of German military, naval and aviation organisations in the British zone; and whether he will give full particulars of such units.

53. Mr. Lipson

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what formations of German forces and of German military, naval, and air force staffs sill exist in the British occupation zone; how many men are involved; what arms they possess; and when will they be completely and finally disarmed and disbanded.

Mr. J. Hynd

In reply to a Soviet suggestion that an Allied Commission of Inquiry should go into the British zone, Field-Marshal Montgomery stated that he was ready to agree provided that the Commission was allowed to visit all zones with equal freedom of movement and enquiry, and that similar Commissions were appointed to investigate other matters affecting the administration of Germany as a whole. After discussion, the Soviet proposal was referred to the Co-ordinating Committee composed of the four Deputies.

The Soviet proposal arose out of an allegation that the British authorities were maintaining Wehrmacht units fully armed in the British zone. The position is that some units and personnel of the former Wehrmacht have been retained for essential work, including dangerous tasks such as lifting mines. Others are awaiting transfer to the Russian and French zones. The shortage of British manpower due to the Release Scheme has made it essential to retain German staffs to see that British orders arc carried out. The rate of disbandment of these men and staffs depends on many factors such as the progress of the work and of the negotiations for transfer to other areas, as well as on transport facilities. These units have, of course, no armament. The total number of men involved is of the order of 520,000. Of former Wehrmacht personnel who fell into our hands at the surrender, some 75 per cent. have already been disbanded, and the process will be accelerated as much as possible during the coming months.

Mr. Lipson

Does the hon. Gentleman's answer mean that there are no German armed forces in the British zone?

Mr. Hynd


Major Peter Roberts

May I ask the hon. Gentleman if he will consider the advisability of going thoroughly into this question of investigation in all zones?

Mr. Hynd

As I have stated, the proposition was put by Field Marshal Montgomery to the Control Commission, and the whole question has been referred to the Co-ordinating Committee for examination.