HC Deb 27 March 1945 vol 409 cc1302-3
23. Sir Leonard Lyle

asked the Secretary of State for War by how much the weekly allowances of rationed commodities to German prisoners of war exceed those issued to British civilians.

Sir J. Griģģ

The rationed items included in the allowances of food to prisoners of war who are not in worKinģ parties approximate very closely to the basic civilian ration of those items which are the same as those drawn by most British officers and men who are not fed in mess and use ration cards. Prisoners in worKinģ parties receive rations at scales equivalent to those drawn by British troops in mess at home, and I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT the weekly quantities by which these rations exceed the quantities which a civilian may buy with his ration book.

Sir L. Lyle

While no one wishes to act harshly towards German prisoners of war, is it not rather absurd that they should get a bigger ration?

Sir J. Griģģ

The ordinary German prisoner does not get a bigger ration. Those whom we call upon to work do get a larger ration, and the question is whether you want work from them or whether you want to give them less rations.

Earl Winterton

Is not the position that His Majesty's Government, like other Allied Governments, are bound by the Hague Convention?

Sir J. Griģģ

Yes, Sir, that is so. We are applying the Geneva Convention rigidly. Whether the Germans are equally rigid in applying it is another matter.

Mr. Glens it Hall

Does the same scale apply to the Italians who have now, I take it, ceased to be prisoners of war and are co-belligerents?

Sir J. Griģģ

No, Sir, their status is still that of prisoners of war, but a large number of them are co-operating. I would like to have notice of the Question, so that I can give my hon. Friend the facts about their ration. I may give the hon. Member a categorical answer.

Sir William Davison

Is it a fact that German prisoners of war are receiving the full American Army ration, which is bigger than the British? Surely, something ought to be done in that matter.

Sir J. Griģģ

It is certainly not the case, as the hon. Member will see if he looks at my answer.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

I think we have had enough of this.

Following are the quantities—

Meat, fresh or frozen (boneless) *
Fats (margarine)
Bacon 5
Cheese 3
Preserves 3
Sugar 6
*As civilians do not get a fixed quantity of neat a direct comparison is impossible.