HC Deb 05 June 1945 vol 411 c678
33. Mr. G. Strauss

asked the Secretary of State for War whether Austrian prisoners of war are being segregated from German prisoners; and whether any steps are being taken to send those who are not Nazis to Austria.

Sir J. Griģģ

The answer to the first part of the Question is "Yes, Sir," and to the second part "Not yet."

Mr. Strauss

Can we take it that steps will be taken as soon as possible to send back to Austria key workers, and, particularly, agricultural workers, who are not Nazis, in order to stave off the threatened food shortage?

Sir J. Griģģ

I cannot give any guarantee on this subject, because "as soon as possible" is always read to mean "at once."

Mr. Stokes

Oh, no.

Sir J. Griģģ

All right, then; it either means "at once" or it means nothing. I am certainly not in a position to give the assurance "at once," and I am unwilling to give a meaningless assurance. There are lots of things concerning the movement of prisoners which have to be taken into account, and all I can say to the hon. Member is that these things are in mind and will be borne in mind.