HC Deb 15 October 1946 vol 427 cc779-80
41. Mr. Anthony Greenwood

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make available to hon. Members the proceedings of the two courts of inquiry which preceded the recent courts-martial of men of the 13th Parachute Battalion.

Mr. Bellenger

No, Sir. It is not the practice, and would be contrary to the public interest to disclose the proceedings of courts of inquiry, which are privileged documents.

Mr. Greenwood

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the present Government were elected because the people of this country wanted a Government which was not bound by precedents? Is he further aware that there is grave public disquiet about the conditions under which men in the Far East are living, which will not be alleviated by any apparent reluctance to make the facts known to the public?

Mr. Bellenger

No, Sir. The facts have been made known to the public, judging at any rate by the volume of Press interviews given in one particular case. The hon. Member must leave a certain amount to be dealt with by Ministers.

Major Poole

Can the right hon. Gentleman now state what were the irregularities at the trial?

Mr. Bellenger

There is another Question on the Order Paper on that subject.

Mr. Yates

Do I understand from the reply that we are not to have a report of the dreadful and appalling conditions which obtained there, because that is the question which is worrying the people of this country? I hope the right hon. Gentleman will tell us that we can have some official report.

Mr. Bellenger

I have already given the House some information on that matter. The main thing the House and the country want is that these conditions, where they exist, shall be altered, and altered quickly.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Will the right hon. Gentleman at least issue a White Paper indicating what were the irregularities?

Mr. Bellenger

No, Sir. I am giving an answer to that question later on.

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