HC Deb 29 November 1950 vol 481 cc1149-51
48. Mr. John MacLeod

asked the Minister of Defence what information he has regarding British and United Nations prisoners-of-war and their treatment by the enemy.

Mr. Shinwell

I regret that I have no information to give the House. Five members of the British Forces—two officers and three other ranks—have been reported missing, but no confirmation has been received that they are in enemy hands. I understand that the International Red Cross Committee have made every effort to get a representative into North Korea, but permission has been consistently refused by the North Korean authorities.

Mr. MacLeod

Will the Minister do all in his power to improve this situation? While realising and appreciating the difficulties, may I ask him whether, when any information becomes available, he will ensure that relatives are informed without delay?

Mr. Shinwell

We are doing all we possibly can through the Foreign Office and the International Red Cross Committee in Geneva. Efforts have been made to make contact with Moscow, but there have been difficulties. In reply to the latter part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, we will certainly do the best we can.

Mr. Drayson

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the North Korean or the Chinese Governments subscribe to the Geneva Convention dealing with prisoners of war?

Mr. Shinwell

I understand that in July the North Korean Government promised to carry out the provisions of the Geneva Convention of 1927.

49. Squadron Leader Burden

asked the Minister of Defence how many members of the British Regular Forces, and how many National Service men have been killed and wounded, respectively, and how many are missing as a result of the fighting in Korea.

Mr. Shinwell

I will, with permission, circulate a detailed statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The total casualties sustained in the Korean operations up to midnight 25th November were 51 killed or died of wounds, 175 wounded and five missing.

Following are the details:

Regulars National Service Regulars National Service
Officers Ratings and Other Ranks Officers Ratings and Other Ranks Officers Other Ranks Officers Other Ranks
Killed 4 4 22 13
Died of Wound 1 1 6
Wounded 1 4 7 123 3 37
Missing 2 3


Mr. Churchill

Has the right hon. Gentleman any figures of the United States casualties?

Mr. Shinwell

I have no doubt that I could procure them; if notice is given I will furnish the information.

Mr. Churchill

I am sure that we should be very glad to know what are the facts, provided that they give no valuable information to the enemy.

Mr. Shinwell

Certainly, but that was not the Question which was asked.