HC Deb 15 March 1948 vol 448 c1680
26. Mr. Wilson Harris

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will issue instructions prohibiting British intelligence officers in Germany from threatening prisoners with the death of their wives in order to extract information from them.

Mr. Mayhew

No, Sir. I am informed that no instructions authorising such practices have ever been issued by any Government department.

Mr. Harris

In view of the statements made in the court last week by a British colonel that it is perfectly proper to threaten German prisoners with the death of their families in order to get information from them, will the Minister say whether that method is approved, and whether it will be adopted in this country also?

Mr. Mayhew

The method is certainly not approved; but I would not like to comment upon the statement in question, because the case is sub judice.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Is not my hon. Friend aware that the public are rather disturbed by a series of incidents in which British Service personnel have been involved in allegations of behaving badly towards Germans in Germany? In such cases, would he use his influence to bring the personnel concerned back to this country, where they can do no further harm in that direction?

Mr. Mayhew

That is another general allegation without supporting evidence, which I am very sorry that my hon. Friend has mentioned.