HC Deb 05 June 1956 vol 553 cc853-4
11. Mr. Strachey

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is satisfied with the situation created by the lapse of requisitioning powers for British troops and their families in Germany; and whether adequate alternative accommodation has now been provided.

19. Mr. Fernyhough

asked the Secretary of State for War what representations he has made to the Bonn Government in connection with Flat 25, Altenbrucher Damm, Duisburg, which is no longer available to the British Forces in Germany.

Mr. Head

Her Majesty's Ambassador in Bonn and Headquarters, British Army of the Rhine, are in close touch with the Federal and Land Governments about German responsibility for making early arrangements to meet their Treaty obligations for housing. I know of only three cases of difficulty, including the one mentioned by the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Fernyhough). This soldier has been rehoused.

Mr. Strachey

Would not the Secretary of State agree that, according to the Press at any rate, cases are arising in which our troops are losing accommodation, and that it is of great importance that adequate accommodation should be given? Were not these powers abandoned very rashly before alternative arrangements had been made?

Mr. Head

Oh, no. This was a matter, as the right hon. Gentleman probably knows, which did not go through the German Parliament. It is a comparatively small percentage, about 10 per cent., which is in question, and we think that by building, by buying leases and by other means we shall get over the problem. However, I would be the first to admit that it is a difficult one. We are watching it very closely.

Mr. Fernyhough

Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise that, unless we can come to some real understanding with the Bonn Government, cases of this description will give rise to hardship and much bad blood, and that incidents may develop,.which would cause extreme ill-feeling between our people and the Germans? Does he not think that strong representations should be made to the Bonn Government to get over the misunderstanding, so that incidents such as these may not arise in future?

Mr. Head

We want to do all we can to avoid friction in this matter, and our Ambassador and our Headquarters have been in touch with the Bonn Government and with various provincial Governments concerned. I think they have done everything possible to avoid friction, and I hope there will not be any more in future.