HC Deb 01 June 1949 vol 465 cc2097-8
18. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether arrangements have now been made with all Governments to return all German prisoners of war, wherever they may be, to Germany.

Mr. Mayhew

According to the information at present available, the only countries in which undischarged German prisoners of war remain in great numbers are the Soviet Union and Poland. His Majesty's Government together with the Governments of France and the United States delivered Notes to the Soviet Government on this subject on 3rd January and 15th March, 1949. Representations have also been made by the British authorities in Berlin to the Polish Military Mission in Germany about the slow rate of repatriation from Poland to the British Zone. German prisoners of war are still being repatriated from both the Soviet Union and Poland, but I am sorry to say that at the present rate it will be a long time before the operation is completed.

Mr. Stokes

Is my hon. Friend aware that there are some 200 German prisoners of war still in Albania, from which country no prisoners have been returned since 1946? If that fact is not included in the review, will he take steps through the Albanian Government to get them sent home again?

Mr. Mayhew

I will look into the question of Albania.

Mr. Pickthorn

When the hon. Gentleman looks into the question of Albania will he try to find out also whether there is any considerable number of formed troops of ex-German prisoners in Albania?

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Can my hon. Friend give the House some idea as to the number of prisoners still held in the Soviet Union and in Poland? Has my hon. Friend got those figures?

Mr. Mayhew

Our latest estimate is that the number runs at least well into six figures.

Mr. Driberg

Was it not factually rather misleading of my hon. Friend, in reply to this very unqualified Question, to make no reference at all to the large number of German ex-prisoners of war who happily remain in this country on a voluntary basis?