HC Deb 28 January 1953 vol 510 cc997-8
29 and 30. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) on what basis British forces in Korea share responsibilities for former prisoners of war who are now civilian internees under the United Nations in Korea;

(2) how many former prisoners of war of the opposing forces in Korea are now civilian internees in Korea under the United Nations; where they are interned; and what are the physical conditions of their internment.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

There are now about 10,000 civilian prisoners detained in South Korea by the United Nations Command; about 9,000 of them are on Pongam Island and the remainder in a hospital camp in Pusan. As far as I am aware, they are housed in conditions similar to those of military prisoners of war. British troops have taken no part in guarding prisoners of war or civilian prisoners in Korea since the 10th July, 1952.

Mr. Hughes

Is it not a fact that the responsibility is shared by the United Nations, and if that is so, what does that responsibility involve? Does it involve health and welfare? Are doctors in attendance to report personally as to the health of the internees?

Mr. Lloyd

I think the responsibility is that of the United Nations Command.

Mr. Driberg

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say how many of these civilian internees were formerly listed as military prisoners of war and subsequently re-screened as civilians, and can he indicate what the basis of the re-screening was?

Mr. Lloyd

I would like notice of that question.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Can the Minister tell us if, when these men were captured, they were fighting as guerrillas and not in uniform, and whether that deprives them of their rights and amenities under international law? Can he make any further statement on that aspect of the matter?

Mr. Lloyd

I think again that I would prefer a Question to be put down on the Order Paper with regard to that matter. My impression is that in this 10,000 are people who constitute a number of different categories. Some had arms, some had not, but were officially classified as prisoners of war.

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