HC Deb 16 July 1946 vol 425 c1058
90. Mr. Austin

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has any statement to make on the arrest and detention of 267 men of the 13th Parachute Battalion in Malaya, on 14th May, 1946; whether he is aware that the armed detachment of the Devonshire Regiment which escorted these men were informed that this duty was that of raiding a Communist party headquarters; whether the complaints that led to these arrests have been investigated; and whether he is satisfied that the action taken was justified.

Mr. Bellenger

The circumstances leading up to the arrests of men of the 13th Parachute Battalion, and the complaints of the men concerned, have been the subject of investigation by courts of inquiry, the reports of which have not yet reached my right hon. Friend. Until these are available he is not in a position to make a statement. He understands that there is no truth in the statement that the detachment of the Devonshire Regiment referred to were told that they were to raid a Communist Party headquarters.

Mr. Austin

May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether, if I send him evidence, there will be no victimisation of the men concerned? Will he lend a sympathetic ear to the views of the rankers themselves this time, and not merely accept the usual Army officer doctrine?

Mr. Bellenger

Certainly, my right hon. Friend and I always pay attention to what the other ranks say, as well as to what the commissioned officers say.