HC Deb 07 December 1954 vol 535 cc771-3
45. Mr. Swingler

asked the Prime Minister if he will publish in HANSARD the text of the order he sent to Field Marshal Montgomery in 1945 concerning the need for careful stacking of captured German arms in case it should be necessary to return them to German troops for fighting against the Russians.

46. Mr. Dodds

asked the Prime Minister what were the instructions contained in his telegram to General Montgomery, in May, 1945, concerning captured German arms.

50 and 51. Mr. Warbey

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he will now publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT Or in a White Paper the text of the messages sent in 1945 to Field Marshal Montgomery concerning the preparations to be made for the use of German troops to resist the advance of Soviet forces beyond a certain point;

(2) whether he is now in a position to state the terms of the arrangements made in May, 1945 between Field Marshal Montgomery and Field Marshal von Busch, acting on behalf of Grand-Admiral Dönitz, for the maintenance in being of German armed forces and for the collection and stacking of their arms.

The Prime Minister (Sir Winston Churchill)

It has not been found possible to find the text of any message sent by me to Field Marshal Montgomery in May, 1945, concerning captured German arms. Every effort has been made and will continue to be made to find it. I will, of course, publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT any result should it be achieved. I certainly proposed around this time that the destruction of captured German arms should be delayed and my telegrams have been published. With regard to Question No. 51, in the name of the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Warbey), Field Marshal Montgomery has also reported to me that no arrangements of this kind were ever discussed between him and Field Marshal von Busch and no German armed forces were maintained in being after their unconditional surrender.

Mr. Swingler

Is the Prime Minister aware that people everywhere remain profoundly shocked at his revelation that he was prepared to rearm the Germans in 1945? Will he answer this question: in this search of the official records has any list been found of the official documents now held by Field Marshal Montgomery? If not, can a search be made for any list or catalogue that is kept of the documents that are apparently in the possession of the Field Marshal?

The Prime Minister

As to people being profoundly shocked, of course some people are very hard up to find something to talk about. As to the question about Field Marshal Montgomery, I think the hon. Member is stealing a march on the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) who has already got a Question down for Thursday.

Mr. Dodds

Is the Prime Minister aware that there are many people who are prepared to let bygones be bygones if only the Prime Minister will get a move on and attempt to meet Mr. Malenkov?

Mr. Warbey

Is the Prime Minister aware of the significant broadcast made on 11th May, 1945, by Field Marshal von Busch in which he said that, in agreement with Admiral Doenitz and the British authorities, he was establishing control over the German troops in the area of the 21st Army Group? Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it was on his instructions that Field Marshal Montgomery refrained from arresting Doenitz, Jodl, Busch, Speer and the other top-ranking Nazi leaders, but allowed them to function as a government at Flensburg in Schleswig-Holstein until over-ruled by General Eisenhower?

The Prime Minister

If the hon. Gentleman will put that on the Order Paper, I will give it very careful consideration.

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