HC Deb 21 March 1945 vol 409 cc784-5
2. Mr. John Duģdale

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make arrangements for any Greeks detained by the British authorities in Africa to leave their internment camps on short passes whenever they desire.

Mr. Law

The majority of the Greeks who are detained by the British authorities in Africa are the members of E.L.A.S. sent there during the recent disturbances. It is hoped that all of these will have been repatriated to Greece by about the end of this month and the necessary arrangements for issuing them with passes could hardly be made before then. The camps in which the other Greeks are detained are situated at some distance from the nearest town to which they might go if passes were issued to them. It must be anticipated that many would not return to the camps and search would have to be made for them. This would mean that considerable additions would have to be made to the strength of the British and Greek military police in these areas. For this reason the British military authorities consider that the scheme is impracticable.

Mr. Duģdale

Is my right hon. Friend aware that when the Foreign Secretary answered a question relating to this matter last week, he said that these men were not to be regarded as internees or as prisoners and that they were merely there because it was inconvenient to move them? Cannot they, therefore, be given facilities other than those normally given to prisoners?

Mr. Law

I have said it is proposed to move them almost immediately, and therefore it is very impracticable to organise a scheme on the lines suggested by the hon. Member at such short notice. With regard to the others, to give the facilities for which the hon. Member asks would impose a further burden on the military which I do not think we would be justified in imposing on them at the present time.