HC Deb 09 July 1946 vol 425 cc219-21
39. Brigadier Low

asked the Secretary of State for War whether wives of officers and men of the fighting services now serving in Greece are now entitled to join their husbands in Greece; if not, when such permission will be given; and whether the same rules apply to British officers and men in the service of Military Government and U.N.R.R.A.

Mr. Bellenger

My right hon. Friend dealt with the point raised in the first part of the Question on 4th June, in reply to Questions by the hon. Members for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith) and Westmorland (Mr. Vane). There is no British Military Government in Greece. Wives of U.N.R.R.A. personnel in Greece are allowed to join their husbands subject to the prior consent of the head of the Greek U.N.R.R.A. Mission and of the military authorities, and permission in these particular cases is not conditional on the husband remaining a further 12 months in Greece.

Brigadier Low

Can the hon. Gentleman give the House any details in respect of the Military Mission in Greece, and not the Military Government?

Mr. Bellenger

Yes, Sir. I think wives are already allowed to join their husbands with the Military Mission.

64. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for War why wives of British Army personnel serving in Greece, who had come out with the permission of the commander-in-chief to join their husbands serving in that country, were recently ordered to return home forthwith; what is the objection to wives joining their husbands in Greece; and under what authority were British wives, in time of peace, given such orders by his Department.

Mr. Bellenger

I have no knowledge of any such order. If the hon. and gallant Member will send me particulars of any individual cases, I will make inquiries. I know of no objection in principle to the presence of families in Greece, but as it is not expected that officers and other ranks, apart from members of the British Military Mission, will remain in that country for the further 12 months necessary to qualify for assisted passages, assistance is necessarily restricted to members of the Mission.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I have definite information that actual arrangements were made for these wives to proceed as civilians at their own expense, and no expense to the public, to Greece and, having come there, that orders were received from Middle East Headquarters that they were to go home at once, and that if they did not go home at once, it would be the worse for their husbands? Is it to be understood that British wives are under any circumstances subject to military law when in a foreign country, which is not under the British Government——

Hon. Members: Speech.

Mr. Speaker

This is a long supplementary.

Mr. Bellenger

I think my answer disposes of some part of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's long supplementary question, but as regards the specific references to detailed evidence, I would like him to let me have a look at it, and I will make inquiries.

Mr. Churchill

The point is not facilities for going out, but that they should not be compelled to come home after they have managed to get out at their own expense.

Mr. Bellenger

Yes, and I think the first part of my answer disposed of that point.

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