HC Deb 21 January 1948 vol 446 cc182-3
11. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will consider adopting a scheme whereby prisoners of war who have volunteered to stay in this country on farms can spend a period of leave with their families in Germany.

The Minister of State (Mr. McNeil)

I am sorry that I am not in a position to add to the reply given on 25th November last by my right hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service to my hon. Friend the Member for Heywood and Radcliffe (Mr. Anthony Greenwood).

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Will my right hon. Friend promise to look sympathetically at this matter, because the number of men involved is comparatively small, and many have been in this country and in Allied hands for many years?

Mr. McNeil

I assure my hon. Friend that my right hon. Friend is actively considering such a scheme.

Mr. Teeling

Does the right hon. Gentleman also realise that at the present moment there is a good deal of Communist propaganda in Germany to the effect that people who are remaining here are being forced to do so, and that if they are allowed to go on leave it will make it much easier to counteract such propaganda.

Mr. McNeil

I am not aware that such propaganda is effective.

Mr. Sorensen

Would my right hon. Friend allow any fear of Communist contagion to prevent a Humane concession? Is he also aware that quite a number of German prisoners of war are anxious to continue working here but are equally anxious to see their families? Ought they not to go back and see them?

Mr. McNeil

The answer to both parts of that question is that I agree with my hon. Friend.

16. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether consequent on the breakdown of the London Conference in regard to the future of Germany he will so regulate the future repatriation of prisoners of war as to ensure that none is forcibly returned against his will if there is reasonable ground to suppose he may be the victim of racial, religious, political or physical persecution.

Mr. McNeil

Yes, Sir.

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