HC Deb 20 July 1953 vol 518 cc18-9
20. Mr. F. M. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when he last made representations to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to obtain their agreement to ease the living conditions of the Nuremberg prisoners at Spandau on humanitarian grounds, and with regard to the possible release for medical reasons of Herr von Neurath.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Nutting)

Proposals for easing living conditions at Spandau were made to the Soviet authorities in Germany last September by the three Western Powers and resulted in a relaxation of the rules about visits and correspondence. In April, 1952, the Western Powers proposed to transfer von Neurath to a hospital but the Soviet authorities thought this unnecessary.

Mr. Bennett

Since no one in the House or the country wishes justice to be confused with revenge, and in view of the recent Press revelations about the living conditions of the war criminals at Spandau, will the Under-Secretary of State consider whether it would now be useful, in view of the slightly improved state of international affairs, to renew those representations?

Mr. Nutting

I will certainly consider that but, equally, it must not be forgotten that the men imprisoned in Spandau are the major Nazi war criminals who were convicted at Nuremberg of terrible crimes against humanity. There is also the procedural question in that the four-Power provisions for control at Spandau contain no provision for clemency, and all representations about the treatment of these men must be the result of four-Power agreement.