HC Deb 01 December 1952 vol 508 cc1080-1
7 and 8. Mr. Bishop

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) if he is aware that, contrary to the accepted international arrangements governing the correspondence of prisoners of war, letters from British prisoners of war in Korea have been transmitted to their wives by a private citizen who claims to have visited the prisoners in North Korea and who is making use of this opportunity for propaganda purposes, as shown by the correspondence submitted to him; and what action he will take to prevent this abuse;

(2) if he is aware of the undesirable enemy propaganda, copies of which have been submitted to him, which are being sent by post to the wives of British soldiers, now prisoners of war in Korea, by bodies such as the Red Cross Society of China and the Chinese People's Committee for World Peace; and what action he will take to stop this flow of propaganda which is so distressing to the recipients.

Mr. Nutting

Yes, Sir, and I deplore this cynical exploitation of human suffering. I am aware, too, of certain scurrilous and mendacious propaganda which is being sent to next-of-kin of British prisoners of war by the Chinese Red Cross.

I am investigating, with the other Departments concerned, what powers, if any, exist to deal with this situation.

Mr. Bishop

While thanking my hon. Friend for that answer, may I ask whether that means that the Government will do everything they can to protect these women, who have enough to bear already, from this peculiarly vile form of Communist propaganda?

Mr. Nutting

It means that we shall investigate whether there are any powers by which we can prevent this type of propaganda from entering the country and being a source of irritation and dismay to many unfortunate and innocent people.

Sir W. Smithers

Is my hon. Friend aware that I, too, have seen copies of the propaganda leaflets mentioned in Question No. 8? They were posted in Peking, and, as far as I can see, bear no name of the publisher or printer. In view of the fact that other countries have had to take strong measures against this atheistic and materialistic Communism, will Her Majesty's Government take much stronger measures?

Mr. Nutting

We shall do all that we can and all that our powers allow.

Mr. A. Henderson

Is it not a fact that the literature in question, which is also being sent to constituents of my own, bears the imprint of the Chinese Red Cross? Is the Chinese Red Cross affiliated to the International Red Cross and, if so, has the attention of that body been drawn to this literature?

Mr. Nutting

I should want notice of that question, but it is true that this literature is circulated by the Chinese Red Cross.

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