§ 9. Mrs. Cazalet Keir
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can state the circumstances in which Mr. Reginald Henderson met his death in Greece.
§ Mr. Eden
Mr. and Mrs. Henderson were taken from their house at Kephissia near Athens on about 10th December as hostages by E.L.A.S. They were awoken at 11.30 p.m. by E.L.A.S. troops, and were forced to march to a village some 10 miles north of Kephissia. They were allowed to take one quilt and a minimum of clothing. They remained at this village for a few days receiving very little food and sleeping on the ground. They were then sent on to Thebes where their food consisted of a small portion of bread and black olives. For two days they received no food at all. From Thebes the Hendersons and a large number of other hostages were forced to march to Atalante, a distance of about 30 miles, and it was here that Mr. Henderson, who was 69 years old, died of privation and exposure. I am sure the House would wish me to express their sympathy to Mr. Henderson's relatives at this brutal treatment of Mr. and Mrs. Henderson, who could have had no conceivable connection with the hostilities which were taking place in Athens.
§ Mr. Eden
The information we have is that, as far as I know, although it is difficult to check it up, these were the 792 only British subjects concerned. There cannot be an undertaking because we have not the fullest information, but I can assure my hon. Friend that this matter has caused much distress and concern and I would rather not go beyond that at this stage.
§ Mr. Bowles
Although everybody in the House and the country deplores these alleged atrocities, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to explain how he knows all these things in such detail?
§ Mr. Eden
I thought the statement I made was a very reserved statement in all the circumstances. I made it so deliberately, not because of doubt about the information, but because of the circumstances which we all know at the present time. The information I have given was given by Mrs. Henderson herself.
§ Mr. Driberg
While everybody, I agree, must deplore this incident, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the first British officer to be returned by the E.L.A.S. Forces this week bore testimony to the fact that he had been perfectly well treated and that he saw no ill treatment of prisoners?
§ Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward
Cannot the right hon. Gentleman inform the House what steps the Government propose to take to punish the perpetrators of this atrocity?