HC Deb 17 March 1947 vol 435 cc13-4
18. Mr. Henry Strauss

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will communicate to the House the reports of British investigating officers in Greece about violent injuries to life and limb, including the numbers of men, women and children killed or injured by the Democratic army during the last six months.

Mr. McNeil

His Majesty's Government have no investigating officers in Greece. Our police mission, however, has been able to supply figures showing casualties inflicted by guerrilla forces from 1st September, 1946, to 28th February, 1947, and I will, with permission, circulate these in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Wilkes

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the British Peace Mission have figures concerning the number of Leftists who have been killed in Greece during recent months? Are these figures kept on a basis of only counting the deaths on one side, or are they comprehensive figures which the Minister could publish, for instance, in the OFFICIAL REPORT?

Mr. McNeil

As my hon. Friend knows, we do keep figures for both sides, and if he will put down another Question I will be glad to supply the information.

Major Guy Lloyd

Does one assume that there is a substantial difference between a Leftist and a member of the Democratic Army?

Mr. S. Silverman

Since my right hon. Friend proposes in any case to circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the casualties asked for in the Question, would it not be as well to circulate all the figures at the same time, without waiting for another Question to be printed?

Mr. McNeil

I do not want to be unhelpful, and I think my hon. Friend has made quite a point, but obviously I already have the figures prepared for the OFFICIAL REPORT, whereas I must have time to obtain the other figures requested.

Following are the details:

The British Police Mission in Greece gives the following figures, based on figures supplied by the Greek Government, for civilians killed and wounded by the guerrillas between 1st September, 1946, and 28th February, 1947; men, 376 killed, 171 wounded; women, 33 killed, 4 wounded; children, 19 killed, 9 wounded. These figures refer to villagers who were not taking part in any fighting and who were massacred in their homes during raids. They do not, therefore, include members of agrarian guards and country selected-security units (home guards) killed fighting in support of the army or gendarmerie units. In addition, large numbers of nationalist villagers were abducted in raids and the fate of the majority of them is unknown. Gendarmerie casualties in the same period were 282 killed and 269 wounded.

Raids on villages by the guerrilla forces have frequently been accompanied by acts of extreme brutality. Houses have been burnt and in some cases villagers have been burnt alive. The most brutal raid reported by the Police Mission took place at Mandalos, near Yannitsa, in central Macedonia on 26th November, 1946. Five hundred bandits, after overcoming the gendarmerie garrison of 64, occupied the village and executed 24 Nationalist inhabitants of whom four were men, five women and 15 were children between three and nine years of age. Executions were carried out with guns, knives and axes. One pregnant woman was disembowelled and afterwards her eight children and their father were killed. Forty-five houses were set on fire. I am not in possession of military casualty figures for the same period.