HC Deb 12 November 1952 vol 507 cc937-8
29. Mr. Vane

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what further information he has received from the United Nations Organisation regarding the return of abducted Greek children; how many children still remain prisoners; and whether all of the countries concerned are now co-operating with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Mr. Nutting

Reports from the International Red Cross and from the Secretary-General have just been circulated by the United Nations Organisation and will be discussed during the present session of the United Nations General Assembly. I am arranging for copies of the reports to be placed in the Library of the House.

By April, 1951, the International Red Cross had received applications by parents, relatives or guardians in Greece for the repatriation of 10,344 children.

Not a single child has been repatriated from countries within the Soviet orbit, and none of these countries has co-operated with the International Committee of the Red Cross. For these reasons, the International Red Cross state in their report that they now feel obliged to suspend for the time being their work in this direction.

On the other hand, I am glad to say that 540 children have now been returned from Yugoslavia, and I understand that the Swedish Red Cross, who have undertaken the task in Yugoslavia, regard their work there as completed.

Mr. Vane

Does my hon. Friend's reply mean that the International Red Cross can now do nothing more and that these various countries concerned have got away with perhaps one of the worst crimes of this century? Could he say how many children are reported to have been kidnapped by the Yugoslays—he has told us how many are in process of being returned?

Mr. Nutting

No, I cannot give my hon. Friend the figure for Yugoslavia without notice, but I understand that all those children who are required to return to their homes from Yugoslavia have now been returned. On the first part of his supplementary question, I regret to say that the answer does mean that the International Red Cross have had to discontinue their activities owing to the utter and total failure of the Iron Curtain countries to co-operate with them in solving this problem.