HC Deb 16 March 1948 vol 448 cc1874-5
43. Mr. Murray

asked the Secretary of State for War when the Service ministers will complete their work on the consideration of a scheme whereby parents desirous of visiting war graves in Germany may do so; is he aware that mothers and fathers in the Spennymoor division are anxiously waiting for such announcement; and will he do everything possible to hasten the completion of this scheme, and thus relieve the tension of these parents.

Mr. Shinwell

I am hopeful that it may be possible to make arrangements for relatives to visit some war cemeteries in Germany during this summer, but I cannot yet announce a detailed scheme. It should, however, be realised that the number and length of visits will for the present necessarily be limited.

Mr. Murray

Will my right hon. Friend press this matter, as I can assure him that parents in my Division are very disturbed? It is nearly three years since the war ended, and these people are very anxious to go out there.

Mr. Shinwell

I have been pressing the matter, but, as my hon. Friend is aware, it is conditioned by difficulties of transport and accommodation.

Mr. Platts-Mills

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear the same matters in mind in regard to visits to Italy, which is the subject of Question 35, which I apologise for not being here to ask?

Mr. Shinwell

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Martin Lindsay

Does not the right hon. Geitleman think it anomalous that foreigners resident on the continent should be allowed to cross the frontier and visit war graves, while British next-of-kin cannot do so?

Mr. Shinwell

I am not aware that that is so, but perhaps the hon. Member will give me details.

Mr. Lindsay

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have a letter from him saying that it is possible?

Mr. Shinwell

I am not even aware of that.

Mr. George Porter

Is it not a fact that graves cannot be visited until they are handed over to the War Graves Commission?

Mr. Shinwell

This applies to Germany, where I think there are special exceptions. Some cemeteries are held by the military.