§ 19. Mr. Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that many of the officers and advisers responsible for the organisation of the new German army proposed in the Paris agreements have Nazi and anti-democratic backgrounds; whether he will make it a condition of ratification of the agreement that Lieutenant-General Count Gerhard Schwerin, formerly a member of the planning department of the Nazi General Staff, Colonel Adolf von Kielnarasegg, General Hans Spiedel, General Maximilian von Edelstein, Major-General Rudolph von Gersdorff, General Wend von Wieterstein, Major-General Smitt von Luettwitz, General Ludwig Cruewell, Lieutenant-General Adolf Heusinger and Colonel Gerhard Panitzki, all of whom have been designated for service with the army, should be barred from holding any office because of their Nazi background.
§ Mr. Lewis
Is the Minister aware that in this instance, as in that referred to in the previous Question, a number of these officers did receive high orders from the Nazi Party, including the Grand Cross with Laurel Wreath and very many other Nazi decorations, for their activities on behalf of the Nazi Party? Are we now to have these Nazis in control of this German army?
§ Mr. Nutting
The hon. Member knows that when the London and Paris agreements come into force the appointment of senior officers for the future West German armed forces will be a matter for the Federal German Government. So far as the list of names is concerned, which in any case the hon. Member has inaccurately copied out from a Communist publication, the "German Democratic Report," Colonel Kielmansegg was arrested in 1944 for complicity in the plot against Hitler; General Speidel was arrested after the 1944 plot; Major-General Gersdorff was an early member of an active and resolute group of resistants to the Nazi Party and General Heusinger was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944.
§ Mr. Speaker
I understood the Minister to say that the hon. Member had copied these from some paper. [HON. MEMBERS: "A Communist paper."] If that is not so and the Minister is inaccurate about that, he ought to withdraw his remark.
§ Mr. Nutting
Of course, if the hon. Gentleman assures me that he did not copy these names from the Communist newspaper in question, I naturally accept his explanation and withdraw my remark.