HC Deb 30 October 1945 vol 415 cc215-6
9. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will cause to be circulated to the next-of-kin of Far Eastern prisoners of war, in a forthcoming issue of the periodical "Far East" or otherwise, as complete a list as possible of all those reported missing in the Far East, together with their last known locations and addresses of next-of-kin, so that liberated prisoners of war now returning home may furnish to the relatives of the missing men such information as they have.

Mr. Lawson

Under existing arrangements, each prisoner of war recovered in the Far East is asked to give any information he may have about his missing comrades, and already many reports regarding such casualties in the Far East have reached the Service casualty branchesconcerned. These reports are in process of examination and check against official records, and where the information is considered acceptable, next-of-kin have been notified. It will be appreciated that many of the reports do-not represent firsthand information, while some are inconclusive or inaccurate. The responsibility for checking and assessing such information could not be left to the next-of-kin as suggested by my hon. Friend, but must rest with the Service Departments concerned, since they alone possess the official records of the missing men.

Mr. Driberg

Does not my right hon. Friend consider that seeing a particular name in a list might remind a man of an incident which he had forgotten, and which it had not occurred to him to put forward in his official report?

Mr. Lawson

My Department welcomes any information from the relatives of the people concerned. I would point out to my hon. Friend that the proposals contained in his Question are very much in line with what I have stated in the answer just given.