HC Deb 08 December 1952 vol 509 cc7-9
8. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Chinese Red Cross are affiliated to the International Red Cross; and whether the International Red Cross have yet investigated the charges made by the Chinese Red Cross of atrocities having been committed by United Nations troops in Korea.

Mr. Eden

The Chinese Red Cross Society belongs to the International Red Cross movement and is also a member of the League of Red Cross Societies.

As regards the second part of the Question, the answer is "No, Sir." The offer made by Her Majesty's Government, in common with the United States Government, of an impartial investigation by the International Committee of the Red Cross of Communist germ warfare charges has been consistently rejected by the Communists on the grounds that the International Committee of the Red Cross is a "tool of American imperialism." But I am discussing with the United States Government the possibility of taking effective measures to counter this propaganda.

Mr. Henderson

Does not the right hon. Gentleman attach some significance to the fact that the booklet to which reference has been made, alleging the most appalling atrocities against the United Nations troops, is based on anonymous statements by British and American soldiers and unrelated photographs? Will he treat the matter with great seriousness in view of the distress caused in many homes in this country by the distribution of this pamphlet?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir; I do understand all that, but I also understand that some of the documents have the imprint of the Chinese Red Cross Society. The difficulty in dealing with them is that, so far, the Chinese have consistently refused to have any kind of investigation made by the International Red Cross. I am trying to see what other way we have of showing what we all feel is the falsity of these charges.

Mr. S. Silverman

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that it is by no means an unusual or even an unreasonable thing for a complainant not to be satisfied to submit his complaint to a tribunal nominated by the proposed defendant? Would he consider whether it is not possible to offer to discuss with them the setting up of a third party tribunal which would be acceptable to both sides?

Mr. Eden

The hon. Member will understand that the Chinese Red Cross Society being, as I said, a member of the International Red Cross movement, it is hardly acceptable that they should then say they are not prepared to have these charges examined by the movement of which they are themselves a member.

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