HC Deb 30 May 1945 vol 411 cc190-1
3. Miss Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the occupation of the Danish island Bornholm by Russian troops has been undertaken by the Soviet Government as an agreed measure of Allied policy.

Mr. Eden

The Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force informed the Soviet High Command on 8th May of his intention to send a detachment to Bornholm to accept the surrender of the Germans there and asked whether this conflicted with Soviet plans. The Soviet authorities replied that in view of the fact that the German troops at Bornholm came from areas within the sphere of operations of the Soviet Armed Forces and that the Commander of the German garrison had requested assistance with food the island was being occupied by Soviet Forces. Soviet Forces therefore landed on the island on 9th May. As my hon. Friend will have seen from the Press, the officer commanding the Soviet Forces in Bornholm has issued a statement to the effect that the island is occupied by Soviet Forces provisionally until questions on Germany relating to the war are solved, and that the Red Army do not intend to interfere in Danish administrative matters.

Miss Ward

Did the action of the Soviet Government in fact have the approval of the Supreme Allied Commander?

Mr. Eden

I think my answer makes it clear that it was not a question of getting approval from the Supreme Commander. There was no arrangement of that kind while the military operations were in progress. It was a question who could reach the island first.

Captain Duncan

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the Swedish anxiety about the occupation of the island? Is there any reason now why the Danish Government should not take it over?

Mr. Eden

I do not know about Swedish anxiety. I do not know that their contribution to the Allied cause has been very great. So far as the Danes are concerned, I can say that the Danish Foreign Minister and the Ministerial Delegation have been to Bornholm and returned and I understand that the relations between the Russians and the local authorities are reported to be cordial.