HC Deb 26 March 1946 vol 421 cc203-4
77. Mr. Bartlett

asked the Secretary of State for War how many Austrian Prisoners of war are still detained in this country; and why they have not been released at the same time as other nationals of German occupied countries who were forcibly enlisted into the German army.

81. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of state for War how many Austrians are still detained in this country as prisoners of war; and when they will be returned o Austria.

Mr. Lawson

There are at present;11,500 Austrian prisoners of war in this country. As regards the question of repatriation I would refer the hon. Members o the answer given by my hon. Friend he Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster o my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Cambridge (Major Symonds) on;26th February.

tell the House? Is it because he is ashamed of it?

Mr. Lawson

My duty in this matter is limited to such matters as providing guards for the prisoners. This Question deals with rates of pay and of repatriation, in the main. That is a matter for another Department.

Mr. Stokes

In view of the most unsatisfactory situation, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment tomorrow night.

Following is the answer:

The following table gives particulars of the numbers of prisoners and of those working. All who work receive pay either from public or non-public funds (with a few minor exceptions) at the rates I gave in reply to the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) on 5th March.

Mr. Bartlett

Could my right hon. Friend answer the second part of my Question? Why have not these men been released in view of the fact that Austria is in a special category?

Mr. Lawson

I must say that certain difficulties are being experienced in carrying out the programme of repatriation for these men. I am not in a position to say what the difficulties are, but they certainly exist.

Mr. Stokes

May I ask my right hon. Friend in regard to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, how soon he expects the forecast of the Chancellor to be fulfilled?

Mr. Lawson

I think my hon. Friend will have to put that question down.