HC Deb 07 May 1952 vol 500 cc371-3
20. Mr. Bence

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has considered the resolution adopted by the West German Bundestag, of 8th February, 1952, and referred to in Command Paper No. 8492, in relation to the release of German war criminals; and whether it is now proposed by Her Majesty's Government to release these criminals.

39. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the attitude of Her Majesty's Government to the resolution on war criminals, adopted by the Bundestag on 8th February, 1952, and published in Annex E of Command Paper No. 8492.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

Provisions governing the future handling of the problem of war criminals will be included in the contractual agreements now being negotiated with the German Federal Government. In the working out of these provisions, account was naturally taken of the resolution of the Bundestag, as of all other relevant factors. The House will be informed of all the provisions of the agreements when the negotiations have been completed.

Mr. Bence

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance to the House that these criminals who committed terrible crimes against humanity during the last war will in no circumstances whatever be allowed to take positions of authority, either in Germany or in E.D.C.?

Mr. Lloyd

The Question deals clearly with the release of German war criminals, and I repeat what I have said. It is not proposed to release war criminals except on the normal expiry of their sentences, or in accordance with procedures which may be agreed for the termination or reduction of their sentences. I repeat that the House will have an opportunity of debating this matter fully before any such proposal can be put into effect.

Mr. Driberg

Will the right hon. Gentleman take note of the fact that Question No. 39 also deals with the Bundestag resolution, and, in view of the terms of that resolution as published in the White Paper, can he give an undertaking that it will not be possible for these released war criminals to be recruited in the German forces of the future, and, perhaps, into Western European forces, to hold command over British troops?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that is exactly a matter which should be discussed when the matter is debated in the House.

Mr. Bing

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Resolution No. 4 of the Bundestag says that the Bundestag considers it necessary that the war criminals should be released, and are Her Majesty's Government acceding to this demand?

Mr. Lloyd

No. All I said was that the resolution was one of the matters to be taken into account during these negotiations.